Mike Trout‘s rookie season absolutely captivated the baseball world in 2012. Some argued (not me) that in addition to American League Rookie of the Year honors, Trout should have been named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Some also thought (not me, again) that he should have won a Gold Glove in centerfield.
Whatever you think of the awards, Trout was an unbelievable story as he hit .326/.399/.564 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI for the third place Los Angeles Angels a season ago.
In 2013, Trout is viewed at as one of the league’s premiere young talents, an example of a star for years in baseball. In his first 31 games, Trout is off to what some (not me, yet again) would consider a slow start, hitting .275/.340/.504 with five home runs and 22 RBI. Certainly those are respectable numbers for a 21 year old, but not what many were anticipating in his sophomore campaign.
But it’s early.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, a third baseman nearly a full year younger than Trout is putting up even bigger numbers at the dish and seems to be getting slightly less attention. At .309/.352/.522, Manny Machado has higher numbers than Trout in all three slashline categories (batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage). He’s tied with five home runs, has one more extra-base hit and one less RBI.
In my weekly guest post on MASNSports.com, I talked about the Orioles with a full season of Manny Machado.
Mike Trout often grabs headlines for being the American League’s young shining star. The 2012 Rookie of the Year gave the Angels a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning with his fifth home run of the season in Sunday’s finale in Anaheim. Machado took that lead right back with his fifth homer in the top of the next inning. The O’s third baseman has a higher batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage than Trout, and has one more extra-base hit.
Machado’s 191 at-bats in 2012 disqualify him from earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. He likely would be the top candidate in the American League this year had the Orioles managed to keep him to under 130 at-bats a season ago.
Defensively, both Trout and Machado are viewed as elite talents at their respective positions. Trout put together a highlight reel of catches last season, but has dipped to a .957 fielding percentage and -0.4 dWAR in 2013. Machado seems to be making the web gems this season and has a .980 fielding percentage and 0.8 dWAR.
According to FanGraphs.com, Machado is fielding his position at a 6.9 UZR compared to Trout’s 2.7.
As with any statistics in early May, the sample size is small. The baseball world saw Trout for nearly a full season last year, while Machado didn’t come up to the big leagues until August 9. However, after watching Machado lead the Orioles offense to seven wins in 11 games on the west coast, I don’t think it will take too much longer for him to start being mentioned with Trout as one of the league’s top young talents. If the Angels continue to drop to the bottom of the AL West, some might even view Machado higher than Trout.