Uncategorized

Can anyone catch Mike Trout as baseball’s best player?

Harper outside of ESPN’s top 10 players (2:18)

Buster Olney reveals some of the big names in ESPN’s top 100 MLB players, including Bryce Harper at 15. (2:18)

Mike Trout has been baseball’s consensus best player for a long time now. That was reflected this week in the unveiling of our annual MLB Rank Top 100, which once again placed Trout at the top of the heap.

This is the sixth straight year in which Trout has topped our rankings, stretching back to when it was known as the BBTN 100. Trout began his rise in 2013, on the heels of his historic 2012 rookie season, finishing third, with Miguel Cabrera topping the list. By 2014, the throne was Trout’s alone. It has remained so ever since, even as the names around him shift from year to year.

Here are the top five from each year of Trout’s six-year reign:

The results from our panel of voters line up nicely with my own view on the topic. There are single seasons in which a player might surpass Trout statistically, such as Mookie Betts‘ 2018 campaign. Betts, in my view, had the best season of any player in 2018. Yet that does not mean Betts has become the game’s best player. Not yet. It takes more than one season to overtake a player who is as consistently elite as Trout.

As we approach the 2019 season, is there any chance that anyone can catch Trout? How would we know? What would that look like?