There is a hot debate in Major League Baseball about whether or not Mike Trout is the greatest young player of all time.
MLB Network‘s Chris Russo is appalled by this idea, and he is not entirely out of place with his mindset. There have certainly been a number of very talented young players in the game’s history – Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays, just to name a few.
Though Mike Trout may not be the greatest young player of all time, he is certainly one of, if not the best player in the game today, and a once in a generation type of talent.
He can even be compared to one of those players listed above, 1974 Hall of Fame inductee Mickey Mantle, to this point in his career. This may seem like a shocking comparison, but watch this clip from MLB 162 and you’ll see why it isn’t:
The video says it all, but I think when you look at what Mantle did through the remainder of his career is where the two separate.
Trout has been impressive to this point, that’s for sure, but I don’t think Trout has the ability to match the 1956 and 1961 seasons Mantle had.
Here are Mantle’s stat lines in those two seasons:
1956 (24 years old): .353 AVG 53 HR’s 130 RBI’s
1961 (29 years old): .317 AVG 54 HR’s 128 RBI’s
Trout certainly has the edge in the baserunning game – he has 91 steals through 376 career games while Mantle had only 153 steals in 2,401 career games – but I just don’t see Trout developing the power Mantle had.
Then again, who knows what we can expect from this kid.
Don’t get me wrong, Mike Trout is certainly one of the greatest young players we’ve ever seen and probably will ever seen, but it’s not fair to try to compare him to some of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.
We should all just let Mike Trout be Mike Trout, and we can worry about comparing him to some of the game’s greats when he’s inducted into Cooperstown 25 years from now.