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Who’s Best in 2019: Springer or Trout?


MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Old-timers like me find it tedious when people say things like Mike Trout is the Mickey Mantle of our age. I watched Mickey Mantle play. I knew Mickey Mantle. Mickey Mantle was a friend of mine. Mickey Mantle, you’re no Mike Trout.

But Mike Trout, in 2019, you’re no George Springer.

Here’s the statistical breakdown as of 5-13-19.

George Springer slash line: .321 BA, .400 OBP, .660 SLG, 1.060 OPS.

Mike Trout slash line:.......... .283 BA, .460 OBP, .575 SLG, 1.035 OPS.

Springer’s BA is 7th in the AL, SLG is first, OPS is first. And although Mike Trout’s absurd 22% walk rate gives him the league lead in OBP, would anyone have thought that George Springer would be sixth in the AL with a .400 OBP? And which would you rather have, a guy who walks a lot, or a guy who slugs just a smidge below Babe Ruth’s career average. (.690)

George Springer leads the league in home runs with 15, two more than the next highest slugger. And that is not Mike Trout, who only has 9, one less than Michael Brantley and three less than Alex Bregman. He leads the league in RBI with 37. Trout is 17th with 25.

Looking at more advanced stats George still has the lead, a league lead in wRC+, 182, just ahead of second place Trout at 174. Trout has a higher DEF rating, and a very slightly higher BSR (baserunning) rating, so both are co-leaders in fWAR at 2.5. That is just 0.4 less than George had all last year.

Springer’s BSR rating is 1.1. That is the first year he has gotten a positive rating since 2015.

Going to Statcast, Springer is 44th in MLB in average exit velocity at 91.7. Trout is 135th with an 89.7 Springer leads the league in hard hits (+95MPH), tied with Cody Bellinger. Trout is 104th.

For the realists out there, just to be fair, Mike Trout’s xWOBA at .466 is considerably higher than his wOBA, and edging Springer’s at .432. Trout’s xWOBA is 4th in MLB, Spinger’s 11th, and, good news, right in line with his actual wOBA.

In fact, all of Springer’s expected stats are in the top 3% or better in the league, and very close to current actual stats. We always knew George Springer had power. Would you have guessed that Springer would lead the Astros in batting average? This year his expected BA is .317, best on the team.

Of course Springer has always been a streaky player, but in over forty games this year he has avoided any major dips in his performance. Has his new friend, Uncle Mike, taught him patience and a more even-minded approach?

When George Springer was a prospect in college ball, scouts sometimes described him as a potential “Mike Trout Lite.” Is it just possible, just a little maybe, that in this year, CE 2019, the Mickey Mantle of our time comes out on the lite side of George Springer? Stay tuned.

Congratulations George Springer, AL Player of the Week! On your way to MVP!