Mike Trout is a rare baseball player. In 2014 he simultaneously delivered his worst year to date and earned his first MVP award. Mike Trout at his worst is better than everyone else. Absurd as that sounds it’s bad news for every other team because that means there’s room for improvement. Here are five things to look for from Mike Trout in 2015.
Mike led the league last year in strikeouts. He was also second in 2-strike counts. Pitchers figured out that he liked to take the first pitch and that he had a harder time with pitches high in the strike zone. Mike has decided to go after the first pitch more often this year and the results have been great in Spring Training. He will probably always have a high strikeout rate, but there’s good news. If he had been able to turn just 10 of his strikeouts into hits he would have had a .300 batting average last year. He doesn’t have to cut his strikeout rate in half to have a great deal more success.
2) Stolen Bases
Mike’s stolen bases decreased dramatically last year. Pitchers were more vigilant in delivering their pitches quickly to the plate while Trout was on base and that kept him at first. Mike says he’s still looking to steal and will take the opportunity when it presents itself. It’s doubtful that he will have 30 stolen bases in a season again but increasing into the 20s range is doable.
3) 100th Career HR
That’s right, he’s 23 and already reaching career milestones. He currently stands at 98 career home runs. Mike is likely to reach the 100th home run mark on or around April 17th or 18th in Houston. It won’t mean much in terms of this season’s success but keep it in mind that you remembered seeing it happen.
Last year was the first time that Mike reached the playoffs. Unfortunately it was a disappointing performance for Trout and most of his teammates. He had a batting average of .083 and an OPS of .600. That playoff hunger should still be burning with hopes of reaching the World Series.
Going in to 2015 there’s no reason not to suspect that Trout will earn another MVP award. He’s the pre-season favorite in the American League. Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox will provide some great competition. But our money is with Trout yet again.