Mike Trout is the new Mickey Mantle
When it comes to selecting the games most exciting, skilled and talented player there is no doubt about who it is, it’s Mike Trout. Whether is terrorizing the base paths or driving in runs, he can do it all. At an astonishing 23 years of age, Trout is the world’s best overall player. He can use his speed to dominate defensively, punish big league pitching and steal bases with ease. No one can remember anything like it since, well, a player named Mickey Mantle. From the speed to the power and even the strikeouts, Mike and Mickey are almost identical at such an early age. Each took the league by storm at the age of 20 and never looked back.
During their respective careers both men averaged 30 home runs or more. They each led the league in strikeouts at least once as well as in number of walks. Both hit for high averages and were at one point or another considered one of the fastest players in the game. On all levels Trout’s game equates to that of the legendary Mantle.
Mickey won the MVP award three times in his career, but we’ll have to wait to see how many Trout finishes with. Thus far, Mike has come agonizingly close to beginning his career with three consecutive awards; unfortunately he’s had to settle for just one. If not for Miguel Cabrera we could be talking about the most dominant beginning to a career EVER.
Before Trout was brought up to the big leagues, scouts knew he would be great but they couldn’t have fathomed he’d be this great. On his current pace, Trout is destined to become one of the all-time greats of the game. Believe it or not he may end his career in company the likes of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. It’s rare that any player can hit for power and average while maintaining such an exceptional level of speed and defense.
Watching his career unfold will be fascinating. The scariest part is the fact that there’s still the possibility Trout improves. At such a young age he has yet to enter his prime. The sky is the limit, and when that time finally comes who knows what to expect. Is it even possible to hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases? Weren’t positional players supposed to become less productive with the new influx of overpowering pitching? No one can answer those questions yet, but we’re certainly going to find out.
Altogether we may just be seeing the best player of an era, a young player ushering in a new age. With defensive capabilities and speed on the base paths at new heights of appreciation, the game is shifting toward all-around players like Mike Trout. With drastic shifts on defense saving runs and home runs on the decline, a player with Trout’s skill set is invaluable. Look to the Kansas City Royal’s deep run last October for a perfect example of where stellar defense and aggressive base stealing can get you.
Landin Murphy covers multiple sports for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @landinfitness