Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trout Gets Much-Deserved Raise

If you just got your salary doubled and became a millionaire, you'd be smiling too
Mike Trout will make twice as much money as he made last year, and he'll still be the best bargain in baseball by a mile.

Consider that over the past two seasons, Trout has scored more runs and stolen more bases than anybody in baseball. He's been worth 20.4 fWAR. Nobody else has more than 15 (Andrew McCutchen). He's totaled more fWAR by himself than all the position players on the Mariners, Marlins, and Astros. In fact, he has more fWAR than all the Miami and Houston position players put together. That's absolutely nuts.

Last year alone, Trout was worth as many wins above replacement as all the New York Yankees position players put together (which is really impressive, or sad, considering Robinson Cano was worth six wins by himself). The Angels got more from Mike Trout than six other teams got from all their position players. He had more fWAR than the Marlins, Astros, White Sox, and Mariners combined.

Teams spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get what Mike Trout has provided for just $1 million over the last two years (and somehow LA missed the playoffs both years, despite allocating $250 million to other players during that time). He'll cost the Angels $1 million this year, which will be the most any team has ever paid for a one-year deal from a player who was not yet arbitration-eligible. Ryan Howard and his current teammate Albert Pujols held the previous record of $900,000.

Interestingly enough, all three were voted Rookie of the Year. Here's what else they'd accomplished at the time of signing:

Pujols:   1,351 PA  71 HR  .321/.399/.586  154 OPS+ 12.7 fWAR, MVP runner-up
Howard: 1,094 PA  82 HR  .304/.399/.624  155 OPS+ 8.2 fWAR, 2006 NL MVP
Trout:   1,490 PA  62 HR  .314//404/.544  166 OPS+ 21.1 fWAR, 2 MVP runner-ups

Trout's clearly the best of the bunch in terms of context-adjusted hitting and overall value. Both his predecessors went on to land monster contracts, so the way Trout's career is shaping up it's only a matter of time before he scores a mega-payday of his own.

But for now, he'll have to settle for $1 million.

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