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Once in a Lifetime Season? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Todd Zola   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 09:18

mike_trout

As you might expect, Mike Trout was a hot-button topic at the recent First Pitch Arizona Fantasy Baseball Symposium. Let’s cut to the chase as we all agree Trout is in for some regression. The question is how much?

Many pundits, present company included, cite Trout’s exceedingly high BABIP and HR/FB. His .383 BABIP was third amongst all hitters with at least 500 plate appearances. A stellar line drive rate of 22% certainly helped that mark, but .383 is a number that will be hard to repeat. The rookie’s 21.6% HR/FB nestled him just below Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano and just above Chase Headley and Josh Willingham. That’s some pretty lofty company and Trout will be hard-pressed to return to that level next season.

On the flip side, Trout’s K% of 21.8 is pedestrian and his FB% is quite low at 33%. Keeping in mind home runs are hits too, Trout’s average is due for a dip as he is going to get fewer hits on balls in play as well as a drop in homers. The associated production will piggy-back on top of all this, lowering his counting stats across the board. Well, at least the rate of his counting stats will be less; he did miss April so with more games comes more production.

With all that said, here’s the rub. Many analysts will proclaim Trout’s rookie campaign as lucky, citing the above metrics (BABIP and HR/FB). But what if it was not simply luck, but also a very talented player performing at the upper end of his potential? Granted, Trout no doubt enjoyed some good fortune, but the strong possibility exists that his skills fell on the good end of the bell curve. Keep in mind skills are not static, but rather a range. We attempt to prognosticate the midpoint, or most likely occurrence within that range, but it is quite conceivable a player performs better or worse than that mark with no luck involved. His expected skills can fluctuate that much.

With that as a backdrop, I’d like to pose the same question Ron Shandler polled the participants of his Five Year Futures Draft at last weekend’s First Pitch Arizona and that is, do you feel we have seen Trout’s career season? Ron was fairly adamant we had, as were 11 of the panelists. Only one came out and said he believed we have not yet seen Trout’s best season. That person would be this guy.

Here’s the deal. Health permitting, Trout has 12-15 more tries to better his 2012 numbers. I’m not saying 2012 will be anywhere close to his average season. What I am saying is I believe that Trout will in fact enjoy another season as good if not better than his rookie campaign. He’ll also disappoint his fantasy owners a couple of times over the next decade when his skills fall at the lower end of the bell curve of potential or he suffers some ill fortune.

What say you?

 

Comments  

 
# Captain Hook 2012-11-09 20:05
When we compare future seasons are we combining all five categories for R$ earned?

To start off here is Erik Karabell's projection - .301 BA, 22 HR, 134 R, 68 SB (he didn't mention RBI but let's subtract 1.5 for each home run) so 71 RBI

Which has greater value?
 
 
# Mickey4081 2012-11-11 00:36
How many of us will pass on Trout next season in redraft league's with the #1 overall pick? All I know is that this guy is, right now, THE player you want to build your team around. If I'm rewarded with the #1 overall pick for 2013, Trout will be off the board.
 
 
# Todd Zola 2012-11-11 12:08
I'm looking at the "better season" question is more of a big picture, philosophical vein than computing a fantasy value or using WAR. Each season is relative to that year and we don't know what direction the numbers will go - so I'm just going to keep it more subjective than objective.

Personally, I'm taking Braun #1 with Trout somewhere between 3 and 5 (Miggy second) juggling between Cano, Votto and Trout next, depending on my mood and risk aversion at that moment.

I'm guessing in 100 drafts, Trout will go #1 between 35 and 40 times, Braun 30-35 times with Miggy 25-30 times.
 
 
# Polka 2012-11-14 21:26
I couldn't agree more with all the above...cannot wait to start up Baseball again and Braun woul be my #1 as well...Ive had him the last two seasons in my hometown league and flat out raked! Plus that swing is so pretty, I know points don't come from that, but sooo pretty!
 
 
# Polka 2012-11-14 21:28
Z your top pick projections are right on the money, and you have to throw in the occasional Cano and Votto in those hometown drafts:)
I'm still pissed I dropped Trout in one league to clear a DL player....still hurts to sit after that idiot GM move....
 
 
# Polka 2012-11-14 21:33
Trout was just so amazing this season, I don't know if I can think back to a rookie call up just flat out blowing doors off almost everyone from Day #1?? I'm 41 and am hard pressed to come up with one? Any thoughts?
I'd go out of my way to draft him over value in my auctions drafts knowing I can keep him for years, or do I wait and see if he regresses this season and goes a tad cheaper in 2014??? Oh the questions of life???? No wonder my wie hates me
 
 
# Todd Zola 2012-11-15 15:23
Quoting Polka:
Trout was just so amazing this season, I don't know if I can think back to a rookie call up just flat out blowing doors off almost everyone from Day #1?? I'm 41 and am hard pressed to come up with one? Any thoughts?


Yeah Ryan Braun
 
 
# deansdaddy 2012-11-19 10:08
Well - I gotta say Mike Trout made a lot of fantasy champions look very smart this year, probably somewhat undeservedly so. I won three titles this year, and two of them had Mike Trout on the team. In one he was my final pick (28th rd) and the other he went un-drafted (25 rds) and I picked him up on April 1st. So while yes I was smart enough to take the shot on him late twice, I obviously didn't predict the success that followed.

That aside - I have to fall behind Todd here - because with so many seasons ahead of the 21 year old - the smart bet is that Trout can do this again at least once or twice again.

For what it's worth - I think there are a few more players who hit the ground running namely Ted Williams ('39), Albert Pujols ('01) and Frank Robinson come to my mind as does (to a lesser extent) Fred Lynn, Ichiro, Nomar to name a few.

Ironically - Alex Rodriguez doesn't get the credit - since he technically wasn't a rookie in his first full season in1996 (age 20) but that season he actually had a WAR of(9.2) close to Trout's 10.7
 
 
# Todd Zola 2012-11-19 15:18
Keep in mind Trout ALMOST wasn't a rookie - Maybe I'll look the reason, but there was some question coming into the season if he was rookie eligible.
 
 
# Todd Zola 2012-11-19 15:31
OK -- the reason had to do with service time. The ROY rule is -- "“A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)."

He exceeded 45 days, but had fewer then 45 before September - the September days DO NOT count as service time, but the at bats do. He fell 7 AB short and did not exceed 45 days (pre Sept) so he made it. The confusion was that he was optioned to AAA in August and called back up, but it was done with before 20 days had elapsed. This triggered a rule where he would be credited with those 20 days but this is more for arbitration purposes. The 20 days helped him achieve more MLB time for contract status but would have made him ROY ineligible. For ROY purposes, those 20 days did not count, giving him 38 days on the 25-man roster.
 

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