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

44 Comments

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.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
2 Comments

Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.