Guest column: Trout can’t stay on the field

by Gary Shelton on August 8, 2022

in general

By Scott Myers

Lately there has been a lot written about the health of Mike Trout.  Actually, Trout’s problems with staying on the field have been going on for almost six seasons (2017 to the present) during which time Mike has been in his prime years of ages 25 to 30.  His problems are now of historic proportions.

I wonder if the Angels are worried?

Mike Trout was an iron man from 2012-2016 (his age 20 to 24 years) appearing in 98.3% of his team’s games.

Since then, he has had a litany of serious injuries:• 2017 - He missed 48 games, 39 of them with a torn thumb ligament. • 2018 - He missed 22 games, 19 of them because of wrist inflammation. • 2019 - He missed 28 games, 19 of them after foot surgery. • 2020 – He missed 7 games during the COVID-19 shortened 60 game season.• 2021 - He missed 126 games, 122 of them with a calf strain, caused by jogging on the basepaths.• 2022 – He has missed 25 games season-to-date through 8/3/2022, 16 of them because of a rare back conditiondiagnosed as ‘costovertebral dysfunction at T5’, which has him currently on the Injured List.

So, it appears that from 2017 to the present (his age 25-30 years) Mike Trout has gone from iron man to glass man as he has played in just 68.1% of his team’s games. That ranks 126th among all MLB players for that time period.  That means that,on average, every MLB team has 4 players who have played in more games than Trout during this almost 6-season period of time.

To add a little more context, let’s compare Trout’s number to what will become his future legacy peer group – the 51 outfielders who are in the BHOF who were on MLB rosters for the full six seasons of their age 25-30 years. The lowest "% of games played" among that group is by Earle Combs at 82.2% and then Larry Walker at 82.8%. The highest is Billy Williams at 99.9%.   Legends such as Mickey Mantle, Henry Aaron, and Willie Mays were on the field 91.8%, 97.0%, and 98.6% respectively during their age 25-30 year seasons.  The group average is 91.5% vs Trout's 68.1%. 

What will be Trout’s ‘% of games played’ for the remaining 8 years of his contract (age 31-38)? I think the Angels might be concerned about that since he is and will be earning $37.1 million per year for all of those years.

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