Mike Trout has received dozens of accolades in his young career, but perhaps the most telling sign of his ability comes courtesy of the baseball website baseball-reference.com.
One of the statistics featured on the site is something called "Similarity Score," invented by Bill James several years ago to show players who have had similar careers. A detailed explanation can be found here.
You can compare players over their whole careers, or just through a certain periods. If you compare Trout's numbers at age 22 to other players in the middle of their age 22 seasons, you get quite a top 10. A look, in order of most similar:
1. Frank Robinson
2. Mickey Mantle
3. Orlando Cepeda
4. Al Kaline
5. Jimmie Foxx
6. Vada Pinson
7. Ted Williams
8. Hank Aaron
9. Ken Griffey Jr.
10. Tony Conigliaro.
In short, seven Hall of Famers, one guy (Griffey) who will go in as soon as he is eligible, one guy who was on his way until his career was ruined by a beaning (Conigliaro), and one guy who had a solid career (Pinson).
But it's four of the names on the list that are especially intriguing: Robinson, Mantle, Williams and Aaron. They're four of the greatest of all time, and right now, Mike Trout's name is among them.
Are Angels fans witnessing the beginning of what will be one of the greatest careers in baseball history? It sure looks like it. So the next time a baseball fan who doesn't see many Angels games asks you what is so great about Mike Trout, just show him the above list.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times