Ron Washington on Mike Trout: “He’s not Willie Mays”

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Mike Trout has hit .441 with two homers, three steals, six walks, nine RBIs, and eight runs in nine games against Texas this season, but Rangers manager Ron Washington isn’t quite ready to induct him into Cooperstown yet:

He’s not Willie Mays. He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play. When he’s been here five years, six years, then you can start doing that.

I’m sure Angels fans will take offense to that, but Washington makes a relatively reasonable point about hype and hot starts and letting a career breath a little bit.

On the other hand, when you’re a 20-year-old rookie and people feel the need to say things like “he’s not Willie Mays” … well, you’re doing some amazing things. Plus, it’s worth noting that Willie Mays wasn’t even WILLIE MAYS yet as a 20-year-old rookie, when he hit .274 with 20 homers, seven steals, and an .828 OPS in 121 games for the Giants in 1951.

Trout is hitting .357 with 15 homers, 31 steals, and a 1.016 OPS in 74 games. Right now Trout is the best player in the American League and arguably the best player in all of baseball, and in only 16 more days he’ll be able to legally drink alcohol.

Yankees set to activate Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday

Giancarlo Stanton
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Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is set to return from the injured list on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday. The timing coincides well with the addition of Edwin Encarnación, who was acquired from the Mariners on Saturday evening and is expected to be active and available for the Yankees as soon as Monday night.

The Yankees have every reason to hope that Stanton will be able to return to his usual 30+ homer, 4.0+ fWAR self as he works his way back to a full-time role this season. (Fueling some of that hope: Four home runs in 10 PA at High-A Tampa during his latest stretch of rehab games.) Undoubtedly, they’re still prepared to play it safe with the 29-year-old, who has already suffered significant shoulder, biceps, and calf injuries and has not appeared in a major-league game since March 31. Through the Yankees’ first three games of 2019, he went 2-for-15 with a pair of singles, seven walks, and four strikeouts.

With Encarnación slotting into a DH/first base role, Stanton is expected to spend the bulk of his playing time in the left field corner. That may cause a bit of a logjam in the outfield, as Brett Gardner took over that spot in Stanton’s absence and will likely be forced into a backup role once Aaron Judge returns from the IL — but for now, Boone says, he “still expects Gardy to play a lot.”