MLB: The most valuable center fielders of 2019

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels plays centerfield against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 15: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels plays centerfield against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 15, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Carrie Giordano (Jesenovec)/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Carrie Giordano (Jesenovec)/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

MLB: The most valuable center fielders of 2019

1. Mike Trout, $13.495 million value; $36.833 million salary

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What did you expect? Obviously Trout is the game’s most valuable center fielder based on on-field value.

When the subject of Trout comes up, the focus is generally his remarkable offensive versatility. Forget just centerfielders, in 2019 Trout ranked first in all of MLB in both offensive WAR and on-base average, second in slugging and OPS, third in overall WAR and walks, and fifth in home runs.

While two points better than any other centerfielder, Trout’s 8.3 WAR actually declined from his 10.2 of the previous season. It works out to $11.036 million in value.

So much is written and said about Trout’s overall talents that it may come as a surprise that his defensive numbers aren’t far above ordinary. His .987 slugging average stands 17th among the 38 centerfielders, working out to $692,000.

His 2.56 range was fractionally above the positional average, giving Trout a $1,229 million value for coverage.

He logged 1,052 innings, 10th best at the position and adding $538,000.

Compared with his $36.8 million salary, Trout’s $13.5 million value illustrates the reality that teams pay their high-end talent as much for their marketing force, the inherency of their identification with the team, and their ability to draw eyeballs as for their actual on-field production.

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Teams like the Angels understand this reality of the game’s salary system.