Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and it’s not even close. Or is it? Boston Red Sox outfield Mookie Betts is making his case statistically.
Betts, however, is a lot closer to Trout than many may think.
This season the Red Sox are putting together a special campaign, on pace for 114 wins, which would break the team’s previous all-time regular season wins record of 105.
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A big reason behind it has been the stellar play of the right fielder Betts, a favorite for the American League MVP award.
Betts is currently batting .350 with 27 home runs, 63 RBI, 23 steals, 99 runs scored, a .438 OBP and an eye-opening 1.106 OPS.
His dominance this season makes it tough to argue any other position player having a better season than Betts. The closest may be his teammate J.D. Martinez.
While true, Trout is the automatic answer when it comes to who is the best player in the game of baseball.
The 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft has had a historic start to his career.
In eight years of major league experience, Trout owns a career .306 batting average, 231 home runs, 629 RBI, 186 steals and has scored 774 runs.
Trout has hit below .290 just once in his career, 2014.
But it’s the past three years where one could make the far-fetched argument that Betts, the 172nd pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, is close to as valuable as the future Hall of Fame player Trout.
Here are the numbers for the two over the past three seasons:
- 2016: .315 batting average, 29 homers, 100 RBI, 30 steals, 123 runs scored, .991 OPS and a 10.6 WAR.
- 2017: .306 batting average, 33 homers, 72 RBI, 22 steals, 92 runs scored, 1.071 OPS and a 6.7 WAR.
- 2018: .309 batting average, 30 home runs, 60 RBI, 21 steals 82 runs scored, 1.083 OPS and a 7.8 WAR.
- 2016: .318 batting average, 31 home runs, 113 RBI, 26 steals, 122 runs scored, .897 OPS and a 9.6 WAR.
- 2017: .264 batting average, 24 home runs, 102 RBI, 26 steals, 101 runs scored, .803 OPS and a 6.4 WAR.
- 2018: .350 batting average, 27 home runs, 63 RBI, 23 steals, 99 runs scored, 1.106 OPS and a 8.1 WAR.
Past three seasons comparison:
In total, the numbers over the past three years are closer than one would think in terms of run production.
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Trout has 92 home runs, 232 RBI, 73 steals and scored 297 runs in the past three seasons. Betts has 82 home runs, 272 RBI, 75 steals and scored 322 runs over that same span.
Mookie Betts has done so in 411 games played and Trout has played 382 games from 2016-18.
In terms of WAR since 2015, Trout is ahead of Betts by 4.7 wins. It’s a wide margin but Betts is 4.5 wins ahead of Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who ranks third.
Still no Trout:
There are few players like Trout to ever step on a baseball field. Mookie Betts isn’t better than Mike Trout, so the argument shouldn’t be made that he is. But, Boston has a future Hall-of-Fame player as well with Betts in right field.
While the Angels fans sit on the couch with no baseball to watch in the postseason, Betts will be looking to add to his argument to be considered the premier player in the game. This season, he has been just that for the Boston Red Sox.