Joe Posnanski completed his series, The Baseball 100, yesterday over at The Athletic with Willie Mays topping the list. The series counted down the best 100 players in the history of baseball. Every single one of the write ups was incredible and if you haven’t checked it out and you love the history of the game, maybe use some of your newly found free time to check some of these out.
With the series completed, it led to an incredible podcast featuring Joey Votto. He joined C. Trent Rosecrans as well as the Poscast crew of Joe Posnanski and everyone’s favorite character from The Office, Michael Schur (who was also a writer on The Office, creator of Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Good Place). It’s just over an hour and a half and much like my advice above, you’ve got the free time now – so go to the link above (for the Joey Votto only version) or hit play on the player below to listen to the full 2+ hour version (that also includes all of the C. Trent Rosecrans and Joey Votto portions, too).
The conversation eventually shifts to Mike Trout. And that’s when you get some outstanding quotes from Joey Votto on the player we all consider the best on the planet right now.
“I don’t think you can put him ahead of the top handful,” said Votto of Trout. “This start is just so special that very easily if he decided to retire, I think we have the conversations – is he the greatest player of all time?”
Through the age 27 season, at least according to Fangraphs version of WAR, Mike Trout’s put up the most WAR of anyone ever. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle are the only players that are even remotely close. Trout has 73.4 WAR. Eddie Collins, who ranks 10th among position player WAR through their age 27 season has 53.7 WAR.
Some players really came on after that, guys like Ruth and Bonds, just went to next levels from that point forward. Both of those guys put up 116 WAR (116 and 116.5, respectively) from age 28 to the end of their careers. Of course, there’s something to be said about the “replacement” level when Ruth was playing.
Is it too early to say that Mike Trout is the best player ever? I guess that depends on exactly what you are trying to ask. Has he had the best career ever? That is an obvious no. He’s 28-years-old. But has he had the best peak of a career ever, and thus making the question is he the best player ever? That’s a real question that could be answered, truthfully, with a yes. Your mileage may vary there – but you can most certainly make the argument that the answer to that question is yes.