While you’re at Connolly’s Tap Room (or the Preakness) swigging back swill, the Orioles are in Anaheim this weekend playing the Los Angeles Angels.
And what that means is two of the best players – young players, position players, all-around players, any-category players – are on display: Angels’ center fielder Mike Trout and Orioles’ third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado.
I asked earlier this year which players you would take over Machado. Trout (and, to a lesser extent, Bryce Harper) was the one most mentioned – if any were mentioned at all.
This is a Baltimore bar blog; by that nature you are going to be biased when it comes to Machado. One, he’s on your favorite team. Two, you get to see him every day.
So when it comes to Trout versus Machado, you are allowed to lean toward your guy.
Earlier this week, I asked Jeff Fletcher, the fantastic Angels beat writer for the Orange County Register, whether Machado and Harper had caught Trout for best player in the game.
He had a great answer.
If you look at this year, based on this year only, yes, they are all in the same conversation. But if you take what they’ve done so far in their careers, Trout has to have the edge.
Consider Trout has played four full seasons in the majors. He has won one AL MVP and finished second in the voting the other three years. He’s been to four All Star games and won four Silver Slugger Awards and is one of baseball’s better defensive center fielders, a premium position. He is signed through 2020 – but will be making more than $34 million in each of his final three seasons.
Machado really has played just two full seasons – he came up in August 2012 and had 2013 and 2014 cut short due to injury (he didn’t get hurt in 2013 until late in September, however). He is a two-time All Star and two-time Gold Glover at third base (including the Platinum Award in 2013). He has finished ninth in the MVP race (2013) and fourth (2015). He turns 24 in July and is signed through 2018 (who knows what his arbitration-based salary will be by then).
He has now played over 200 consecutive games – longest streak in the majors – and is manning shortstop while J.J. Hardy is injured.
Their numbers this year, heading into Friday night, are similar:
Trout: 10 homers, 31 RBIs, 28 runs, 4 stolen bases, .327 average/.416 on-base/.588 slugging.
Machado: 11 homers, 25 RBIs, 30 runs, 0 stolen bases, .319/.377/.625.
So here’s the question — and I want your honest answer — would you personally swap Machado for Trout? I’m not asking about whether the Orioles should, since they have an All Star center fielder of their own.
But you? If you were building a team? Do you love Manny that much? Do you think he has a better ceiling? Or do you concede that Trout is baseball’s best, even if Manny is close?
Tap-In Question: Would you rather have Trout or Manny? Why?