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Mike Trout vs. Mickey Mantle: An Early Career Statistical Comparison

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 14: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slides in safely after tagging up on Albert Pujols #5 fly ball to left during the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 14, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
James MorisetteCorrespondent IIIJuly 18, 2012

“[Mike Trout’s] a strong guy, runs really well, power—he reminds me a little bit of [Mickey] Mantle.”

Those are the words of Hall of Fame Detroit Tigers icon and Baltimore native Al Kaline, as reported by John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.

For ardent Mantle supporters, this has to make the blood boil. Rightly so—how can one compare Trout, though great out of the gate, to one of baseball’s most legendary Yankees figures?

Surely this is nothing but overblown hype by people desperately trying to put baseball fans in a time machine back to the 1950s and ‘60s.

But some, like C. Trent Rosencrans of Cbssports.com, thinks Trout is not being over-hyped as the next Mantle.

From Rosencrans:

It was interesting to hear so many people at the All-Star Game who are saying the same things about Trout and Bryce Harper as the media have—comparing their potential rivalry to that of Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider in the '50s.

But it should also tell you something when the likes of Kaline are praising Trout and George Brett touted Harper. It's not just hype, as many claim, these two are legitimate players who are playing the game right and should be a joy to watch for many, many years to come.

Bryce Harper a different story. Let’s stay focused on Trout and Mantle by asking the following questions.

Are media conglomerates and former players prematurely ordaining Trout as "the commerce comet?" Or are the same seeing something that brings legitimacy to this philosophy?

While it is still way too early to tell if Trout is the second coming of Mantle, perhaps there is more to this when comparing early-career statistics between the two players.

Below is a matchup of Mantle and Trout through 405 at-bats into their careers (Trout has 405 at-bats through July 17th).

PLAYER H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
Mantle 118 14 6 15 74 52 87 9 .291 .363 .535 .829
Trout 127 25 3 18 60 36 92 34 .314 .370 .582 .893

Mantle's stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com (game logs 1951-May 11th 1952). Trout’s stats courtesy of ESPN.com

With this comparison in mind, could Trout end up being the next iconic, once-in-a-generation type of player that Mantle was? Again, it is still way too early to tell.

One thing is for certain—Trout is off to a great start.

 

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