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Mike Trout, baseball's $600 million man, is actually underpaid

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Mike Trout's nearly completed 12-year, roughly $US430 million ($A606.7 million) contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels, which when finalised would set a new benchmark for North American sports, will undoubtedly spark a new round of complaints and criticism, not exactly unfounded, that athletes are egregiously overpaid relative to their contributions to society.

But within the confines of baseball, the Trout deal can be understood to have the exact opposite effect: if anything, the best player in the game - even at a total dollar figure no one else has approached, let alone exceeded - remains vastly underpaid relative to his performance-value within the sport.

Big deal: Mike Trout.Credit:AP

Trout, 27, has been considered the consensus best player in baseball since early in his career - a career that, so far, has produced two American League Most Valuable Player awards (and four runner-up finishes), seven all-star appearances and six Silver Slugger awards. But the designation of best player in the game actually undersells the place in history of a player who, by any measure, has few peers in any era.

According to FanGraphs, no hitter in baseball history has amassed more wins above replacement through their age-26 season than Trout (who played the majority of 2018 as a 26-year-old), at 64.9 WAR.

FanGraphs defines WAR an estimate to answer the question, "If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer or a AAAA player from their bench, how much value would the team be........

© Brisbane Times