Mike Trout turned 25 last month. A giant table then, in his honor, listing the 25-best seasons of the last 25 years, as ranked by WAR. Trout should breach the top-10 again by season's end.
Bonds, of course, takes three of the top-five spots by virtue of the greatest hitting peak in baseball history. Ripken (#3) in 1991 produced perhaps the best all-around season ever for a shortstop -- one needs to travel back to 1908 to find another 11+ WAR season at the position (Wagner, obviously). Ripken, Adrien Beltre (#14) and Scott Rolen (#24) can claim the best defensive seasons on the list, while no player generated more value on the basepaths than Trout in 2012 (Trout's 2012 season probably qualifies as the most "well-rounded" on the list--he was an elite hitter, defender and baserunner). Between them, Bonds, Trout and Alex Rodriguez claim 14 spots on the list; A-Rod's switch to third base from shortstop in 2004 likely cost him at least two additional 10+ WAR seasons (without the extra credit for positional adjustments).
It should bring no small measure of delight that Ichiro Suzuki's 2004 campaign (eight home runs … in this company) makes the list.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison CC BY-SA 4.0