Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 8/22/12
Mlb-all-star-futures-game

This is the cover of the new issue of Sports Illustrated. Angels rookie, and probable league MVP, Mike Trout is prominently featured as THE SUPERNATURAL. Trout is the best player in baseball, and just turned 21 two weeks ago. He's six homers away from a 30/30 season, and has played in just 100 games this year. He has a 1.013 OPS on the season, and is playing Gold Glove defense in center field. Trout could be having the best rookie season in MLB history.

However, that caption on the cover reminds me of a much darker time in SI covers. A time that haunts me to this day. A time where life stood still, and the focus was on a similar young, energetic player.

Yeah. Seven years ago TO THE VERY WEEK, SI christened Braves rookie Jeff Francoeur as The Natural, with a nearly identical caption of "can anyone be this good?" compared to Trout's caption of "how can Mike Trout be so good so young?"

Francoeur was also 21 during his rookie season of 2005, and while his numbers looked nothing like Trout's, he still has himself a good year. Francoeur finished that 2005 year with an .875 OPS and 14 homers in 70 games. He finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting...and quite frankly, that was the peak of his career.

Francoeur is 28 now, and has spent time with four teams in his career. He has a .737 career OPS, and 48 steals. Trout has 39 steals this year alone. Francoeur's career high in homers is 29, and Trout already has 24 this season. Since that 2005 rookie year when he hit .300, Francoeur's highest average in a season was his .293 mark in 2007. Trout is hitting .344 this year.

I love how the cover is a callback to seven years ago, when SI christened a top prospect off to a top start as the next big thing in baseball. Thankfully, they waited until 140 games into Trout's career (including 40 last season) as opposed to just over a month's worth of games in the case of Francoeur.

Hopefully for the Angels and their fans, their SUPERNATURAL player doesn't go the route of Atlanta's NATURAL player, who has accumulated 9.5 fWAR in 1112 career games. Trout has 7.5 this year...in just 100 games. If Trout ever sinks down to Francoeur's level in the next five years, it will be a massive upset...even more so than the devolution of Francoeur into a running joke of a player.

[follow]

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Irsay: Pagano safe, Peyton not in picture as potential Colts GM

LeBron James: Gregg Popovich ‘factors a lot’ into 2020 Olympics decision

Cuban softens stance on superstar status of Westbrook

Ric Flair gets into Twitter fight with Panthers player over Falcons fandom

Charlotte thinks a $175M MLS stadium will help heal racial divisions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate

Jadeveon Clowney fined $18k for hit on Tom Brady during playoffs

Travis Kelce fined $21,615 for shoving player, calling out ref

10 best undrafted players remaining in NFL playoffs

Arizona's Allonzo Trier cleared to play after drug test comes back negative

Rodgers dealing with sickness ahead of NFC Championship Game

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

Box Score 1/20: 37 years ago today, Carter said no to Moscow

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Ranking the top three conferences in college basketball

The NFC Championship’s two most important players

Eight bold predictions for second half of NBA season

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Roger Goodell does what we all expected him to do

Eat, Drink, Watch for Jan. 20-22, 2017: Dips, rye, football and Death Race 2050

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker