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Braves’ Matt Olson Rips ESPN MLB Rank Top 100 List: Mike Trout at 19 Is ‘Ridiculous’


TEMPE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 24: Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels looks on against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training game at the Peoria Sports Complex on February 24, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

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MLB Network’s rankings aren’t the only ones making baseball players mad going into the 2024 season.

In response to ESPN’s annual ranking of the top 100 players right now, Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson took exception to a few things.

Speaking to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Olson explained it was “ridiculous” to have Mike Trout at No. 19.

“I know there’s always recency bias,” Olson said, “but I’m a little more swayed by the guys who have been there and done it for a while … Mike Trout at 19. That’s ridiculous. Nolan Arenado at No. 44? Goldschmidt at 47? That’s pretty wild.”

Trout has become a difficult player to evaluate on a list like this. The three-time AL MVP is still very good when he plays, but he’s only appeared in 237 games over the past three seasons.

Last season was Trout’s worst since he played 40 games in 2011. He hit .263/.367/.490 with 18 homers in 82 games. While those would be outstanding numbers for most players, his 131 OPS+ was 42 points worse than his career mark and 36 points worse than his previous low mark in a single season (167 in 2020).

Trout told reporters near the end of last season he “hired a ton of people to work on my body” going into 2023 in an effort to stay healthy. His injury came at a random moment when he fouled a pitch off and broke a bone in his left hand.

The 11-time All-Star attempted to return after missing seven weeks, but he only played in one game before going back on the injured list with pain in his hand.

Even with some decline in his hitting performance last season, Trout still posted a three-win season, according to FanGraphs‘ wins above replacement. He was on pace for close to six WAR when you stretch that out over 162 games.

Despite the complaints about Trout’s ranking, at least he’s still recognized as a top-20 player by ESPN. MLB Network didn’t even acknowledge Ozzie Albies, Olson’s teammate, as one of the 10 best second baseman in its positional rankings unveiled in January.

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