By: Chris Larson
Earlier this morning, Jeff Passan of ESPN Sports broke news that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Mike Trout had reached a massive contract extension. The new deal is slated to cover 12-years and is worth a reported $430 million dollars. Joel Sherman of the New York Post went onto say that the new deal is basically a 10-year contract worth $360 million dollars and is set to kick in starting in the 2021 season, the year that Mike Trout, would have been a free agent.
Additionally, according to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times, Trout will reportedly earn an average of $36 million dollars per season and does not have any opt-outs included in the contract. Beyond that, there is also a full no-trade clause meaning that Mike Trout will be a lifelong Angel player and staple of the organization for the next 12+ years.
Looking at the deal on paper, it makes more than enough sense as to why Mike Trout is now the highest paid player in the game and should be making this amount of money. After all, Trout is a generational player and someone that any team in baseball would love to have as part of their 25-man roster and everyday core. He's got the athleticism, he's beloved by his teammates on and off the field, and has the qualities of a hardworking baseball player, all things that are hard to find contained within one athlete nowadays.
In an effort to understand exactly how valuable Mike Trout is to the Los Angeles Angels consider this. Entering the 2019 regular season, Trout currently ranks 99th among, position players in MLB history, with a 64.3 WAR. Dating back to the 2012 regular season, Trout has put up on average a, 9.1 WAR during each of those seasons, with the lowest being in 2017 when he finished the year with a 6.7 WAR. Considering that he is going into his age-28 season, there is a good chance that he will once again end the season with an impressive WAR value.
Assuming he puts up a WAR higher than (9), he will end up with a cumulative WAR of 73.4, moving him up to the 53rd spot, among MLB position players in history, in terms of WAR. Essentially, that would mean that he would be just behind legendary Chicago White Sox designated hitter/first baseman, Frank Thomas. Many can vouch for how good Frank Thomas was in his prime and he accumulated that WAR through his age 40 season. Trout is only entering his age-28 season and could have potentially the same WAR that Thomas accumulated over his entire career with 12 years to go before age 40!
If that still isn't enough to illustrate how valuable Mike Trout has been dating back to the 2012 regular season, the year in which he played his first full season at the major league level, just take a look at the offensive numbers that he continues to put up year in and year out. Here's a look at a chart courtesy of Baseball Reference showcasing all of that:
As you can see, Trout essentially continues to get better and is still in the midst of his peak heading into this coming season. Trout finished the 2018 regular season with the highest amount of walks (122), highest on-base percentage (.460), and highest OPS (1.088) of his big league career. When you put all of that together, you end up finding a hitter that is extremely disciplined at the plate, one that knows how to thrive in any type of situation that he is put in when he walks up to the plate, and someone that knows how to hit the ball.
Furthermore, his power really shows when it comes to hard hit ball percentages, as illustrated by the data that Baseball Savant has accumulated. Looking at last season alone, Mike Trout ranked fifth in barrels-per-plate appearance with an overall percentage of (9.5%). Trout tied with, Randal Grichuk of the Toronto Blue Jays, in that category. In terms of exit velocity, Trout ranked near the top with a (91.2 MPH) value. The highest value belonged to, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees at (94.7 MPH), while the lowest value belonged to, Billy Hamilton formerly of the Cincinnati Reds at (79.3 MPH). In turn, that translated to Mike Trout having the sixth highest Max Exit Velocity at (118.0 MPH) over the course of 351 batted ball events.
In addition, another fun fact regarding Mike Trout and his batted ball stats is in terms of home run distance. According to the same data accumulated by Baseball Savant, Trout's longest home run last season measured (444) feet in length. That ended up translating into an average home run distance of (212) feet putting Trout in fourth, tied with Lucas Duda of the Texas Rangers and Rhys Hoskins of the Philadelphia Phillies. Overall, among the 39 home runs that Trout put up, they all had an average distance of (393) feet.
In the end, this is a deal that had to happen for both Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels know they have a special, generational player in Mike Trout and have now established their future core for the franchise with Trout, Sohei Ohtani, and up-and-coming prospect, Jo Adell. Whether or not they will put together the resources to build a championship-caliber club year in and year out, over the next 12 seasons remains to be seen, but Mike Trout is committed to the organization, the organization is committed to him, and now it has resulted in what should be a happy marriage for the foreseeable future.