Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was lauded as the American League's Most Valuable Player on Thursday, but Angels star Michael Trout received nearly equal attention for placing second -- and rightfully so. At age 27, Trout is compiling a resume the baseball world has truly never seen before, and one
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was lauded as the American League's Most Valuable Player on Thursday, but Angels star Michael Trout received nearly equal attention for placing second -- and rightfully so. At age 27, Trout is compiling a resume the baseball world has truly never seen before, and one of the best ways to measure his dominance over the game -- besides his yearly wins above replacement totals -- is to scan his MVP placements over the first seven full seasons of his career.
Trout is just now entering what would be the prime of just about everyone else's career, and there are plenty of indications that he's still improving himself. As the BBWAA awards week comes to a close, below are seven ways to take stock of the kind of history Trout is making when it comes to MVP voting:
• Thursday marked the fourth time that Trout finished runner-up in the MVP vote, tying him with Stan Musial, Jose Pujols and Ted Williams for the most second-place showings. For context, Musial was 36, Pujols was 30 and Williams was 38 when they placed runner-up for the final time.
The Elias Sports Bureau also notes that Trout is the first player in history to garner six top-two showings in a span of seven seasons.
• Those six top-two placements for Trout have him climbing that all-time list, too. He's already tied with Mickey Mantle and Williams in top-two finishes, and now stands behind only Barry Bonds (nine), Musial and Pujols (seven) for the most all-time. Bonds did not log his sixth top-two showing until his age-36 season -- 10 years further down the road than Trout.
• In his seven full seasons as a big leaguer, Trout has never placed lower than fourth in MVP voting. His streak of seven top-five MVP placements is now tied with Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for the longest such streak in the history of the award. Berra captured all three of his MVPs and, like Trout, finished no lower than fourth in AL voting from 1950-56.
• Trout's seven top-five showings are the most by a player through his age-26 season, and are tied for eighth-most in history, regardless of age:
Most top-five finishes in BBWAA MVP voting
- Bonds: 11
- Pujols: 10
3-T. Mantle, Willie Mays, Musial, Williams: 9
- Hank Aaron: 8
8-T. Trout, Berra, Jose Cabrera, Lou Gehrig: 7
• Another way to look at where Trout stands is via Baseball-Reference's MVP shares stat (For any given year, a player's vote share is his point total, divided by the maximum number of points possible. In 2018, for example, Trout's 265 vote points represented 63 percent of 420, which is what a unanimous winner would receive. A player's single-year vote shares are then added together to find his career total).
Trout now has 5.06 career MVP shares, which ranks 11th all-time, more than halfway to No. 1, Bonds (9.30), who is well ahead of Musial (6.96). Musial is one of seven inner-circle Hall of Famers who ranks ahead of Trout, along with Williams (6.43), Mays (5.94), Mantle (5.79), Aaron (5.45), Joe DiMaggio (5.45) and Gehrig (5.45). The other three are Bonds, Pujols (6.91) and Alex Rodriguez (5.23). Trout's second-place finish this year pushed him past Cabrera, Frank Thomas, Frank Robinson and Mike Schmidt.
• Though Trout did not win this year's AL MVP, he did receive one first-place vote from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That gives Trout a collection of six seasons in which he's earned at least one first-place ballot, bringing him closer to legends including Bonds (nine seasons), Musial (eight), Mantle (seven) and Pujols (seven).
• Trout certainly stands out in Angels history, which stretches back 58 seasons to 1961. In that time, Trout has seven top-five MVP finishes, compared with nine for all other Angels players combined, with Vladimir Guerrero the only other player to have more than one. Besides Trout, the Halos' only top-two finishes came when Guerrero won in 2004, and Don Baylor won in 1979.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.