New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth is considered by many to be the greatest player of all time.
With 714 home runs, a career batting average of .342 and 2,873 hits, his statistics back that up. However, perhaps more importantly, he changed the game of baseball forever, as his gaudy power totals led to an increased emphasis on home runs.
In all likelihood, no player will ever do for baseball what Ruth did. However, if he keeps up the pace he’s currently on, one hitter might be able to surpass Ruth’s 1923 season, which was arguably the greatest of all time.
It’s no secret that Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout is probably the best all-around player in the game today. He’s played six full seasons in the majors, and has yet to have a down year.
Trout is a two-time MVP, and he’s finished in the top five of the MVP voting four times. He’s just 26 years old, but he already has 213 career home runs and 1,085 hits.
Trout is off to another fantastic start this season, with a .298 batting average, a .440 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and eight steals.
In fact, according to ESPN’s Sam Miller, if Trout keeps up the pace he’s currently on, his 2018 season might even be better than Ruth’s 1923 campaign, a year that saw the Hall of Famer hit a ridiculous .393 with a league-leading 41 home runs and an otherworldly .545 OBP.
Ruth also collected 205 hits that season, whacked 13 triples and 45 doubles, and stole 17 bases, which tied his career high.
Moreover, he was great in the outfield, accounting for 1.2 defensive wins above replacement. Unsurprisingly, he won the MVP award.
In total, Ruth was worth 14.1 WAR that year, a number no one has surpassed since then.
The Angels played their 40th game of the year on Sunday, and though Trout was on the bench (his first off day of the season), he finished the day with 3.51 WAR, according to ESPN.
That left him on track to produce 14.2 WAR over the course of a full season, which would break Ruth’s record.
The equation that determines WAR is very complicated, but three important statistics involved in calculating the final total are batting runs, defensive runs saved and baserunning runs.
In all of those areas, Trout is excelling. As of Sunday, he was on pace to produce 85 batting runs (the highest total so far this decade has been 71) and 8.1 baserunning runs, which would have been good for third-best in baseball last season.
Moreover, he’s on pace to account for 20.3 defensive runs saved in center field, which would have been fourth among all defenders in 2017.
Trout has always recorded a high WAR (the lowest total of of his career was 6.7), and you could make the argument that if he retired today, he’d be a lock to make the Hall of Fame.
That’s because there are 68 Hall of Fame position players — including Willie Stargell, Kirby Puckett, Ralph Kiner and Jim Rice — who posted fewer career WAR than Trout, MLB.com reported. Trout has already been worth 57.7 WAR for his career, and remember, he’s still only 26.
Trout will never be Babe Ruth — that much is certain. But he might just be the best player in baseball right now, and and he’s well on his way to becoming a legend.
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