As we move into the outfielders this week and look at Zach Sanders’ end of season rankings, there’s no better place for me to start than at the top. Why? Because let’s face it, writing a piece about Mike Trout is probably the easiest thing in the world to do. This poor guy (and I say that very tongue in cheek) has been dissected and analyzed by almost every writer and/or sabermetrician out there over the last two-plus years and all of them have come to the exact same conclusion: Wow. This guy’s pretty good. They’ve looked at his raw stats, his rate stats, his splits, his swing, his defensive ability, you name it. This diamond has been looked at under every gem loop of every level of magnification there is. With very little argument from most, the assessment is that he is the best, most well-rounded outfielder in the game right now. So what more is left to say? Well, I’ll tell you.
Absolutely nothing. If you’re bored with reading about how great Trout is, then you can save yourself the five minutes it would take to move through the mountains of fluff you are about to endure and just click here.
Handsome too, right? That one was for my wife who has begged me to trade her Trout from the moment he burst onto the scene in late April of the 2012 season.
Since this is RotoGraphs, we’ll just stick to the fantasy aspect. With everything written about Trout and having watched him over these last two seasons, there is little or no reason to argue the fact that he is the number one outfielder out there (sorry, but I rank him ahead of Chris Davis) and is, hands down, the biggest no-brainer, second pick of almost every draft. If you’re just starting a keeper league from scratch this year, then you definitely have an argument to take him first overall and let the guy next to you have Miguel Cabrera. He hits for power, he hits for average, he steals bases, and he scores a ton of runs. If your league uses OBP instead of average, well, guess what…? He’s great there too. Simply owning him, provided you didn’t botch the rest of your draft, makes the sun shine a little brighter each day of the fantasy season.
His statistical contributions to your team are huge as, in many cases, he is doing the work of multiple players. Last year, he was basically Allen Craig and Shane Victorino all rolled into one, but still better. I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that owning him gives you an immediate advantage. But what he also brings to the table, whether it’s a keeper league or a re-draft league, is enormous trade value. He is a talent that everyone covets and the barrage of trade offers you will receive for him throughout the year confirms that. Sure, you’ll get your immediately dismissible, lowball offers, but far too many other owners in your league will not only offer you high-end fantasy talent, but they’ll also throw in a night with their sister if it means getting the deal done.
Some might think you’d be crazy to trade away a commodity like Trout, especially in a keeper league with no contracts. But dealing him away shouldn’t be looked at as taboo. Championships in fantasy baseball are not an easy thing to come by and if it means sacrificing your best guy to win it all, then that’s a sacrifice you make. Obviously though, it’s a situational thing and if you happen to have multiple superstars on your team, then, of course, you explore those avenues first. But the fact that dealing Trout will bring you a return of such magnitude that the only way you could lose is if your entire team landed on the DL all at once, then you make that deal and don’t look back. Collect your championship and walk a little taller. Worry about next season, next season. It’s a lot easier to rebuild when you’ve already won.
So there you have it. Yet another piece written about Mike Trout that tells you what you already know. The guy is an amazing ballplayer and one of, if not the, best commodities to own in the fantasy kingdom. Draft him if you can, and if you can’t, trade for him as early as possible. The earlier you do it, the more time you have to fill all the holes you created just to get him. Waiting until further into the season will only see the cost go up.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org