With Mike Trout and Mookie Betts both playing in Los Angeles and being two of the highest-paid players in baseball, the Trout vs Betts debate will be unavoidable in the years to come. While any Trout comparison is almost unfair, who’s to say that any Betts comparison won’t also be unfair depending on his career path.
Both are on the shortlist of the best outfielders in MLB, but who’s had the best career and who will be the better player between Trout and Betts when all is said and done?
Hit for Average
This is a close call because Trout’s career average is .306, which is only slightly better than Betts, who began 2021 batting .299 over his career.
However, Betts has just two seasons in which he’s hit over .300. Meanwhile, Trout has topped .300 in five of his nine full seasons in the majors. Even if Trout has never topped the .346 average that Betts had in 2018, Trout gets the slight edge in this department.
Hit for Power
This is an area where Trout has a considerable advantage over Betts. While Betts has a career slugging percentage of .519, it pails in comparison to Trout’s .585, not to mention his 1.005 career OPS, which is more than .100 points higher than Betts.
Also, from 2012 to 2019, Trout averaged 35 home runs per season. Meanwhile, Betts averaged just under 27 long balls per season from 2015 to 2019. Clearly, Trout is the better power hitter.
Betts deserves a ton of credit when it comes to his defense. Keep in mind that he was an infielder for most of his time in the minors.
Not only did he make a successful transition to being an outfielder but he also became a perennial Gold Glove winner starting in 2016.
As for Trout, while he’s always been praised for his defensive skills and his arm, he’s yet to win a Gold Glove, getting beat out by Betts, among others, when he was still with the Red Sox.
It’s hard to find a bad thing to say about either of these players. Both have been lauded for the way they play the game and their professionalism.
Betts even took home the Heart and Hustle Award the same season that he won American League MVP, which tells you everything you need to know about the respect he has from his peers. Of course, Trout receives the same type of praise from everyone in the game and does all of the right things despite playing on a lot of losing teams.
Trout vs Betts: The Verdict
It’s a shame to do this to Betts, but he still doesn’t measure up to Trout.
While Betts may be a slightly better athlete and defensive player, there’s still no better baseball player on the planet than Trout. He’s been a perennial All-Star since his first full season in the majors and has won three MVP awards along the way. He has every skill a baseball player needs and excels in every aspect of the game. Betts might come as close as anyone, but Trout is still the gold standard.