OAKLAND -- Everybody likes Mike Trout.
Sabermetrics lust for him.
The jewel of sabermetrics, the all-encompassing Wins Above Replacement, gave Trout a score of 9.9 under the FanGraphs.com system (fWAR) heading into Tuesday's game at O.co Coliseum. Not only does he easily lead the Majors, as Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is second at 7.7, but Trout is on the fringes of some pretty special history.
Trout's Major League-leading 10 fWAR last year was the highest in history for someone in his age-20 season. His current score would be the highest for someone in his age-21 season or younger, with Rogers Hornsby the current leader at 9.5 in 1917.
No player has posted a second straight 10-plus WAR campaign in his age-21 season. And the list of players -- any age -- to boast back-to-back such seasons is about as prestigious as it gets ...
• Ty Cobb (1910-11)
• Babe Ruth (1920-21, 1923-24, 1927-24, 1927-28, 1930-31)
• Hornsby (1921-22, 1924-25)
• Ted Williams (1941-42, 1946-47)
• Mickey Mantle (1956-57)
• Willie Mays (1964-65)
• Barry Bonds (2001-04)
Trout, who turned 22 on Aug. 7, entered Tuesday one double and one triple shy of being the first member of the 10-20-30-40 club, which respectively accounts for triples, homers, steals and doubles. He's drawn an American League-leading 100 walks, entered Tuesday 17 hits away from becoming the 11th player to notch 200 hits in his age-21 season and has a .436 on-base percentage that would be tops in Angels history if the season finished today.
With a first-inning homer on Tuesday night, he became the first player in AL history with 25 home runs, 30 steals and 100 walks in the same year.
In other words, Trout has done the impossible: He's improved on his historic rookie season.
"Nobody has a crystal ball, but Mike Trout had the talent to do what he did last year, and he has the talent to repeat it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's not chasing numbers, and I think the guys who don't chase numbers usually play at a higher level because he's not affected by a negative performance in one game or one at-bat. He just comes back and keeps playing baseball. He has great makeup."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less