One of the fun things about being a sports fan is arguing about who is the best.
Is it Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer? LeBron James or Stephen Curry in hoops? Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in tennis? The list and the arguments are endless.
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, however, has taken the fun out of the argument of who is the best player in Major League Baseball (MLB). It’s Trout, by a lot.
Just look at the numbers. Trout, who has missed some recent games because of a sore wrist, is hitting .309 and has blasted 30 home runs this season.
He also leads the majors in OPS. That’s a statistic that measures how good an overall hitter someone is. OPS combines a player’s on-base percentage (how often he gets on base) and his slugging average (the number of bases he produces with his hits — home runs, for example, count for four bases).
It’s not a surprise that Trout leads everyone in OPS. He has been in the MLB top five for OPS for the past six seasons.
OPS does not tell you everything about Trout. For example, he is a fantastic base runner. Trout has stolen 21 bases this season and has been caught stealing only twice. He’s also a terrific center fielder.
Experts say Trout may be better than such baseball legends as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Still, Trout is not as well known as some other sports superstars.
Why? First, Trout is quiet. He doesn’t brag, show off or make a lot of television commercials. Trout lets his playing do the talking. He just concentrates on getting better every year.
Second, baseball is a funny game. If you watch Trout for one game, he may not get a hit or make a great play in center field. You have to see him play over a bunch of games to appreciate how special he is.
Third, even though Trout has been the best player in baseball for years, his team is not very good. Right now, the Angels are stuck in fourth place in the American League West Division.
In fact, Trout has appeared in the MLB playoffs in only one year: 2014. The Angels lost three straight games and were eliminated.
Unlike other sports, one player cannot make a big difference in baseball. After all, Trout can get up to bat only once every nine times. And he can play only one position at a time, not all nine.
But believe me, Mike Trout is a great player. There’s no argument about that.