February 15, 2013
Mike Trout and Regression Obsession
Like many fantasy players, I spend little if any time during the season worrying about what a player will earn the following year. Even in keeper formats, I don’t invest a significant amount of time trying to figure out future earnings.
While I didn’t have an exact dollar value assigned to Mike Trout for 2013 back in October, I assumed that I’d have him ranked first or second in AL-only formats and first, second, or third in mixed formats. Besides Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera, there were few players who seemed capable of putting up big enough fantasy numbers to come close to Trout.
I assumed my thinking would represent conventional wisdom, and that nearly every expert would agree that Trout would be at worst a top-10 player in mixed formats. However, this has not been the case. Although they don’t represent the majority, a number of experts have given Trout a thumbs-down review for 2013. These recommendations have advised anything from moderate to extreme caution with Trout. One expert went so far as to say that Mike Trout would only be the eighth-best outfielder in fantasy this year.
Instead of simply dismissing the anti-Trout crowd as off-base, I thought I’d take a closer look at Trout and determine whether or not the regression argument has any merit.
Mike Trout’s Sophomore Season: Establishing a Baseline
Most of the negativity surrounding Trout has been very vague. Few if any specific examples of comparable players have been provided, and those examples that have been offered have typically been players who don’t fit Trout’s profile in terms of age and/or skillset.