ANAHEIM -- On Thursday night, Michael Trout played the 1,000th game of his brilliant MLB career. Since debuting with the Angels in 2011 at 19 years old, Trout has crafted one of the greatest peaks in baseball history -- and he's still finding ways to get better.
The 26-year-old center fielder is in the midst of his best season to date, leading the Majors in home runs (23), walks (64), runs scored (60), OPS (1.158) and WAR (6.6). The next-highest MLB player on the 2018 WAR leaderboard is the Mets' Jacob deGrom at 4.8.
• Trout's 1,000th game: 3 BB, 2 R, 1 Angels win
"This is not an easy game, and this guy makes it look easier and easier every year," Halos right fielder Kole Calhoun said. "It's a special talent that we're not going to see too many times, so enjoy it now."
Trout's greatness becomes even more discernible when you take a look at what he's done cumulatively so far and where that places him within the greater context of baseball history. Through his first 999 games, he is slashing .308/.414/.574 with 224 home runs and 178 stolen bases. Trout is the first player to hit 200 home runs and steal 175 bases before his age-27 season.
Trout has more home runs and walks (635) than all-time leader Barry Bonds (172 home runs, 603 walks) did through his first 1,000 games. Since 1960, only four players have debuted with a higher OPS than his .989 through their first 1,000 games: Frank Thomas (1.055), Todd Helton (1.041 OPS), Jose Pujols (1.040) and Manny Ramirez (1.006).
No metric better encapsulates Trout's all-around dominance than WAR, though. According to Baseball Reference, his 60.8 career WAR ranks 10th among active players, one spot ahead of Ichiro Suzuki (59.3), a future Hall of Famer who has 1,652 more MLB games under his belt than Trout.
In fact, Trout has already amassed a higher career WAR than 69 Hall of Fame position players, including Harmon Killebrew (60.4), Mike Piazza (59.6), Yogi Berra (59.4) and Vladimir Guerrero (59.4).
Only two players have a higher WAR through their age-26 seasons than Trout: Ty Cobb (63.4) and Mickey Mantle (61.4).
Last year, Trout surpassed left-hander Chuck Finley (52.1) to become the most valuable player in Angels history, as measured by WAR. Finley, a five-time All-Star, pitched for 17 seasons in the Majors; Trout is in only his seventh full big league season. On the franchise leaderboard, Trout ranks fourth in home runs, eighth in hits, third in steals and fourth in walks.
The summits figure to only grow in prestige as Trout continues his unprecedented climb in the months and years to come.
"You always thought Mike had the potential to do what he's done so far in his career, and he just keeps going," Halos manager Mike Scioscia said. "You see a lot of talented guys come up, but Mike is one of those guys that's coming up here and certainly doing what he's capable of doing. It turns out to be some very special things."