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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mike Trout was irrelevant in four games at Yankee Stadium. The best player often is.

This would be more dramatic if Mike Trout had a monster series against the Yankees but he had one monster (1B, 2B, HR) game in four and only a single and two BB in the other three. In baseball, unlike basketball (NBA finals in progress), the star player can be marginalized and it's been that way since Babe Ruth walked 170 times in 1923 and the BB rule was not adjusted accordingly.

I think that Mike Trout is the best baseball player on the planet. And even if you don't, you probably have him in the top three, which is good enough for the points in this post. Mike Trout's team lost all four games, which brought the Yankee record to .500, which suggests that these Yankees are mediocre at best. Mike Trout's monster game resulted in a 12-6 loss. Mike Trout on a less than mediocre Angels team makes very little difference. To paraphrase, Branch Rickey: the Angels can finish last with or without Mike Trout.

Trout will generally bat four times a game and it's random whether those plate appearances will be consequential. Even if they are, Trout will probably fail. All batters fail most of the time if given enough opportunities. Since 1903 on base average for those who "qualified for league batting title" has been at least .500 14 times. Barry Bonds in 2004 is the only batter to reach .600: .609. That was inflated by records: 232 BB, 120 IBB.

The most at bats in a season with a .500 BA is about 42.
Mike Trout catches a fly ball by Orioles' J.J. Hardy, first inning Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in Baltimore. by Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA via Wikimedia Commons
By rule batters may hit the ball anywhere in fair territory. They may try to completely avoid hitting the ball anywhere near Mike Trout, which means that Mike Trout may add no value in the field.

Teammates may block Trout from stealing, although his attempts have decreased since Trout led the American Conference in his first full season of 2012 with 49 steals, only 5 CS. That's probably the Angels directing him to protect his legs. But Trout can still run the bases in a highly efficient manner but, again, Trout's teammates on base in front of him may block his progress.

So maybe it's not cost effective to pay big bucks for top players. But that still has entertainment value, like movie stars. And while Trout's impact may have been irrelevant at Yankee Stadium, Trout was the star on the field, the one people pay to see as the saying goes.

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