Is 430 Million Dollars Too Much? Not for Trout.

At this rate, Mike Trout will be in the GOAT conversation of baseball.

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Almost the entire MLB offseason was spent waiting for two of the biggest names in baseball right now to sign contracts: Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. They took almost the whole offseason before finally signing for over $300 million apiece. But less than four weeks after Harper broke the record for the largest contract in MLB history, Mike Trout shattered Harper’s record by signing a 12-year, $430 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels.

It’s hard to believe that anyone can be worth that much—$430 million is an enormous sum of money. But if anyone is going to get $430 million, nobody is more deserving of it than Trout. First off, he’s played seven full seasons in the Majors. In those seasons, he has accumulated Rookie of the Year, seven all-star appearances, silver slugger awards in all but one year, and two MVP awards. He has also never finished below fourth in MVP voting, and that fourth place finish was in 2017—when he only played 114 games because of a thumb injury. In all honesty, he deserves more than two MVPs. The MLB just got tired of giving him the award. Those accolades are pretty impressive for a whole career, let alone a career that isn’t even halfway done. At this rate, Trout will be in the GOAT conversation of baseball.

Trout is consistently one of the best in the league in multiple batting categories. He has a lifetime batting average of .307 and has led the league in runs scored four times, highlighting just how much he gets on base. This is helped by his high walk count; after all, he led the league three times in walks, with over 100 during each of those years. He also has a high on-base percentage, which has been over .440 each of the last four years. To put that into perspective, that means he gets on base during almost half of his plate appearances.

Another thing that makes Mike Trout worth his contract is that he is one of the very few true five-tool players. A five-tool player is someone with good speed, contact, power, defense, and arm strength. For speed, Trout has always been one of the fastest players on the field at any given moment. He gets to a surprising number of balls in the outfield, and he has accumulated over 20 stolen bases each of the past three years. And it’s not like he’s going to slow down anytime soon. He’s only 27!

As far as contact goes, he’s hit over .300 in five out of seven seasons. He had another season when he hit .299. He racks up the hits, accumulating over 170 hits in five out of seven seasons, including his 2017 shortened campaign. No doubt he can hit for average.

In terms of power, Trout is still one of the best. He’s hit over 25 long balls in every season, including 39 this past season. This correlates to his incredible slugging percentage every year, in which he’s led the majors twice in his career with over .600 SLG years.

It’s not just his ability at the plate that makes him so great; it’s also his amazing play on the field. As a center fielder, he definitely gets a lot of action. This makes his 1.000 fielding percentage in the last two seasons even more impressive. He also had a career high 4.32 range factor per nine innings last season, which measures putouts and assists per nine innings that he plays. So here’s: the fourth tool: defense.

As for arm strength, Trout sure has a cannon. He had seven outfield assists in his 2018 season. This may not seem like many compared to the league-leading 12, but seven is still a relatively high number when it comes to outfield assists, which are hard to come by—especially from center field.

Now, let’s see if Trout is really worth every bit of the $430 million he’s getting. One of the advanced metric stats that the MLB has is WAR, or wins above replacement. This calculates how many more wins a player generates than the average replacement at his position. In his career so far, Trout has a whopping 64.2 WAR. That’s sixth among active position players, and Trout is only 27 years old. 27! To put this into context, Trout already has a higher career WAR than 68 Hall of Famers; Trout hasn’t even played half of his career. Trout’s accolades up to this point are enough to get him into the Hall of Fame right now, but he’s just getting started.

The way that the MLB thinks about wins is by roughly how much a win is worth. One WAR is generally thought of as worth about $9 million. So let’s take what Trout has done in seven seasons, which is 64.2 WAR, and spread it to 12 seasons. That means that if he stays at this pace, he will put up 110 WAR over the next 12 seasons. Obviously, it is unlikely that Trout will keep up this pace, and he has probably already peaked, so let’s take the 110 WAR and make it 55. Using the $9 million per WAR means that for 12 years, Trout would be worth almost $500 million. Now, I’m not saying that he should get that much money, and there are obviously factors such as injury and slumps in form that would lower his performance significantly, but Trout is definitely worth the $430 million that the Angels paid him for the next 12 years.