Mike Trout is, once again, the best player in baseball

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It took a little while because he got off to what was for him at least a slow start to the season, but for the third straight year Angels center fielder Mike Trout leads all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement.

Trout is hitting .311 with 16 homers, 39 total extra-base hits, 9 steals (without being caught), and a career-high 1.008 OPS in 66 games, along with his usual outstanding defense. He leads the American League with a .610 slugging percentage and 1.008 OPS, and ranks second in on-base percentage (.397) behind only Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

Add it all up and here’s what the Fan Graphs leaderboard for Wins Above Replacement across both leagues looks like:

MIKE TROUT          4.7
Troy Tulowitzki     4.7
Alex Gordon         4.1
Giancarlo Stanton   3.8
Andrew McCutchen    3.4

Trout also led all of baseball in WAR last season with 10.4 and two seasons ago with 10.0. He is currently on pace for 11.0 this season. (Note: Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also really, really good and also having a really, really awesome season over in the National League.)

Perhaps the Baseball Writers Association of America will find a way to avoid giving him the American League MVP award again, but for the third consecutive season–and third time in his three full seasons as a big leaguer–Trout is the best all-around player in baseball. And in just two more months he’ll turn 23 years old.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.