One of the interesting things in Baseball is how one player can still do great statistically, get recognized for it, while his team is an absolute disaster. Mike Trout in en route to lead the American League in WAR for a fifth straight season, not something that’s been done too much over the years, while playing on a Los Angeles Angels team that’s going nowhere.
Trout has a 8.6 WAR this season so far, the best in the AL. He’s batting .316, with a league best .438 OBP, and a .991 OPS, similar to his league-best OPS from the previous season. He has 25 home runs (won’t make it to 41 like last season), and it’ll be interesting to see where he finished in the MVP voting. In the last four years he was in the top 2, winning it in 2014.
Trout isn’t alone in this achievement, but those who have been as dominant over the years end up in the hall of fame. Interestingly, Barry Bonds, who won’t get in the hall of fame from the looks of things right now, led the National League in WAR 11 times during the 1990-2004 stretch, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, although never did it for more than four years straight.
Albert Pujols, Trout’s teammate on the Angels, led the National League for six straight seasons while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals (2005-2010). During that stretch, he averaged 52 home runs a season, while batting 339/.535/.781 (OPS 1.316). From the way he’s going, there’s no reason he won’t get to 700 home runs for his career, even if he’s at the point of being overpaid and playing on a bad team.
Alex Rodriguez, another all-time great who won’t make it into the hall of fame from how the voters operate at this point, led the American League in WAR six times from 1998 to 2007, playing for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
Going a bit further down in history, Willie Mays did it from 1962 to 1966, and Mickey Mantle did it from 1955 to 1959. From 1919 through 1931, Babe Ruth led the American League 11 times in WAR, including six straight from 1926 to 1931. Honus Wagner led the National League in WAR for 8 straight seasons, and 11 times overall. Rogers Hornsby also led the NL in WAR 11 times, including six straight from 1917 through 1922.