There are certain constants in everyday life. The rising and setting of the sun. Debating whether you want a snack or if it's time for lunch. Laying in bed and wondering what fresh hell the next day will hold. You know, the familiar things.
For those in the baseball world, one of those constants was noticing Mike Trout's name at the top of WAR leaderboards. It was an expected occurrence, perhaps even passed off as a sign of the usual and mundane. Ho-hum, Mike Trout is good at baseball. This is shocking news indeed.
The start of a new season throws all this into disarray. The leaderboards are wiped clean and suddenly, after a week, some kid named Trevor Story has hit a trillion home runs and Trout can't find the broad side of a barn even if he falls out of a boat. It's small sample size theater gone mad with a host of songs written by Weird Al. Aldemys Diaz! Jose Altuve, but with home runs! Dexter Fowler with a .500 OBP!
Even as Trout got hot, the story wasn't Trout getting hot. The story was "If I try to trade for Mike Trout, do I have to include the entire state of Delaware and all its tax havens in the deal?" Because the Angels, you see, are very bad. Don't be fooled by the 21-24 record that they boast. The Angels have a rotation led by Hector Santiago and Jered Weaver's "fastball," and have found a way to squeeze Brendan Ryan, Gregorio Petit, Johnny Giovatella, Shane Robinson and Rafael Ortega all onto the same roster. As to why they're not languishing in last place, let's just say that the Astros are a living example of Murphy's Law.
So when Mike Trout recently reclaimed his rightful place atop the FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus leaderboards, it felt like things were right in the world once more. The man who has been the best player in baseball since his first full season is once again, from a statistical standpoint, the best.
You don't need a refresher on just how good Trout is. You don't need to be reminded just how easy he makes an incredibly difficult sport look, and how effortlessly he does so.
We'll remind you anyway.
Remember when Trout was having "trouble" with his offense? After Monday night's game, he's sporting a 175 wRC+, which is better than his career mark (and his career has been pretty good). He's hitting a bonkers .323/.413/.568 as a center fielder with excellent speed. 20 of his 55 hits have gone for extra bases. Since 2012, he's been worth 40.8 fWAR. The next most valuable player over that span is Andrew McCutchen, who has been worth 28.9 fWAR.
He's somehow only 24 years old.
Trout is Mickey Mantle reincarnated. He'll run a mile to leap into the air steal your home run from over the wall, and then he'll deposit one over the very same wall in the next inning, and he'll give you a smooth boyish grin when it's all said and done.
There was never much doubt that Trout would settle back in as the baseball deity that he is. In fact, he never really went away. His .291/.386/.523 line for the month of April is pretty damn good. It was just that first week or two that was slow for Trout. He leads baseball in fWAR over the last month of play.
As of Monday, Trout was still not in first place by bWAR, behind Adam Eaton and Jose Altuve by a slim margin. But for now, we'll take solace in the fact that, in one small way, the world makes a bit more sense again.
Now, if McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt could get going, then we'd really be in business.