The 2018 season began with a great deal of promise for Mike Trout. Trout had recently gotten married and seen his favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, win the Super Bowl. In addtion, the Angels offseason saw the addition of Justin Upton (through a contract extension), Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler and the two-way phenom, Shohei Ohtani. It appeared the Angels would be on track for their first playoff appearance since 2014.
The season started with a bang as the Angels won 11 of their first 13 games. The offense seemed to be on fire and the pitching staff healthier than it had been in years. But that optimism didn’t last much past May. Key injuries to Kenyan Middleton, Garret Richards, Shohei Ohtani, and Zack Cozart railroaded the team. In addition Kole Calhoun ran into a major hitting slump which required him to rework his entire swing in the offseason. Justin Upton had a mediocre start to his season that didn’t really strengthen until the latter part of the year. All of these plus a slew of other injuries robbed the Angels of a winning season. Meanwhile Mike Trout continued to do Mike Trout things. Continue reading Diamond in the Rough – 2018 Season Review→
On the Monday before the All Star Game Bill Shaikin started a lot of trouble by publishing a piece in the LA Times about the struggles in getting Mike Trout the kind of attention he deserves. Aside from playing most of his games on the West Coast and a lack of playoff appearances Shaikin also stated that Trout turns down high profile opportunities to promote himself and the sport. Torii Hunter is quoted in the piece as saying:
“If Mike really wanted to, if he got a marketing team and everything, he would be the face of baseball,” . . . “He doesn’t. He wants to be with his wife and keep it simple.
“It’s his choice. It’s not anybody else’s choice.”
At the end of the article Shaikin asks:
Should the league do a better job of promoting him?
“I don’t know,” Trout said. “I’m not telling anybody to do that.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred went on The Dan Patrick Show (go to the 33 minute mark) the next day and when asked about promoting players cited Shaikin’s piece and agreed with it. Manfred felt it was the responsibility of the league to promote its players but they could only promote them as much as they were willing to be promoted.
If that wasn’t enough to celebrate, Trout’s favorite football team the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl. This victory came despite the Eagles losing their star quarterback (and Trout’s hunting buddy), Carson Wentz , to injury. The Eagles faced the favored New England Patriots with an underdog’s prospect of winning but emerged the champions. . . .And Mike was there to see it live.
Mike Trout wrapped up his sixth season once again sitting atop MLB as baseball’s best player and unfortunately once again sitting out of the playoffs. Despite his stellar play the thing that will most be remembered about 2017 was the period of just over 6 weeks in which he did not play.
Trout started the season off with a bang being named the American League Player of the Month for April. It was the best start of his career to date and the fourth time he has received the award. His all-around stats continued to build as he surpassed all of the expected career plateaus during the year. He passed 150 stolen bases, 500 RBI, 500 walks, 1,000 hits, 200 doubles and reached 200 home runs just as the season came to a close. He once again found a way to lead the league in on-base percentage (.442) and was able to couple that with the simultaneous lead in slugging percentage (.629). That naturally made him the league leader in OPS, a remarkable 1.071. He finished the season with a 187 OPS+. At an early stage in the season he had an absurd OPS+ over 200.
After just five full seasons in the Major Leagues Mike Trout has shown himself to be on pace for a Hall of Fame Career. It could be that he reaches stat-benchmarks that put him as shoe-in for Cooperstown 3 years before he even has reached the ten years of playing time eligibility. Trout is the only player to come in first or second in MVP voting in his first 5 years. A respectable argument can be made that if you take away stats influenced by his teammates; Trout would could have won the MVP award all five years. He has been the leader in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in the American League for the past five years in a row. If he can accomplish the feat again this year he will be the first player since Babe Ruth (1926-1931) to do it six years in a row.
At 25 years of age, he has more hits that Pete Rose had at 25, more home runs than Barry Bonds had at 25, and more stolen bases than Rickey Henderson had a 25. Though it’s unlikely for him to beat any of their records (much less all three), Trout has proven himself to be an elite force in baseball.
In addition for seeking his third MVP award keep your eye for him to reach 1,000 hits sometime around mid-July. He should have 500 walks in mid-May. He’ll find 50 career WAR by the end of April (he’s ALREADY the Angels all-time leader). He’ll reach the 200 doubles mark in August and if things go his way he could hit his 200th home run in the last few weeks of the season.
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. He needs a nickname that people will use (Millville Meteor hasn’t really caught on). Let’s help him establish himself in our cultural lore. Give Trout a new nickname! These options were based on fan suggestions found here.
Got another idea? Share it in the comments section.
What more can he do? The question begs to know if it’s possible for a player to get any better than Mike Trout in 2016 and what he must do to gain recognition in Major League Baseball as the most valuable player in the sport. Trout’s legacy is summed up in two sobering facts; he’s the most valuable player over the last 5 years by a long shot and his value has had no impact on the Angels playoff appearances.
Once again, Mike Trout is the best. No qualifications. His fifth year again put him at the top of the WAR leader board bringing in 10.6 wins over the average replacement player. A full game better than the next closest player. No other player has led the league in WAR 5 straight years in a row since Babe Ruth. He led the league in On Base Percentage (.441), Walks (116), Runs Scored (123) and Runs Created (148). He once again found a way to increase his batting average and his on base percentage and decrease his strikeouts for the third year in a row. He is the ONLY player in American league history to hit at least 25 home runs, steal at least 30 bases and have an on-base percentage over .440. Not even Mike Trout had done that before.
Despite this historic level of production, the Angels find themselves outside of the playoffs. A string of season-ending injuries on a team that had no margin for error left Trout’s team in the position for a top 10 draft slot. It’s possible that without Trout, the Angels could have won fewer than 60 games. Because his team wasn’t very good, some baseball writers think his season lacks the proper narrative to recognize Mike Trout as the single most valuable player in the American League. Possibly making this the fourth time Trout was robbed of the award. It seems for Trout to be properly valuable he needed to make better management decisions for the Angels while he was still in high school.
Mike Trout is proving himself to not only be the best player in professional baseball, but perhaps on his way to being the greatest of all time. It’s up the the Angels front office to surround him with teammates worthy of his level of play so that we can eventually see him in the postseason once again.
Mike Trout’s skills on the baseball field are well documented but that’s not all a player needs to be successful in today’s major leagues. Fan interaction specifically on social media is something players must engage in to grow their brand and find new fans. The problem is that social media can get a player in trouble as well.
There’s no telling if Trout’s had some social media coaching or if he’s got great instincts but he plays it straight down the middle. His social media posts are almost always about baseball and when he uses his platform to promote charities or promotional brands he doesn’t over do it.
Managing social media can be a lot of work, and there’s no reason a player should make it a full time job (or hire someone to run their social media for them). But Mike stays involved with regular posts throughout the season often commenting back to fans or forwarding on pictures of kids inspired by him.
ESPN’s Keith Law set off a firestorm of articles this week when he suggested that the only way the Angels could fix their broken farm system would be to trade Mike Trout.
I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we’re going to start talking about whether it’s time to trade Mike Trout.
Law’s comment sparked quite a bit of controversy. Here’s a sample of the reactions to that idea:
Look, the point is that it’s almost impossible to trade Trout for what would be an acceptable return in 2016. He’s not just a long term building block, he’s practically the damn building. He’s the closest you can get to having a one-man team.
Mike Trout ends 2015 with yet another historic year of baseball under his belt. The hopes for a second MVP award seem to be lost to the lack of a playoff appearance by the Angels but Trout proved himself every bit deserving of the accolade of “Best Player in Baseball.”
In almost every way Trout improved his game over the previous year. His most remarkable stat was reaching the 40 home run mark for the first time in his career. He ended the year hitting 41 homeruns. His teammate Albert Pujols was just short of that with 40 home runs. They became only the second and third Angels to hit forty home runs in one season. Troy Glaus accomplished the feat twice and holds the team record with 47.
Trout led the majors in Slugging (.590), OPS [on base + slugging] (.991) and OPS+ (176) setting him apart as the best hitter in baseball. He improved his batting average by 12 points from .287 to .299 and most notably reduced his strikeout total by 26. Trout had led the league in strikeouts in 2014 and dropped to 9th in 2015. Trout’s stolen bases numbers declined to a career low despite making the same number of attempts as the previous year. His defensive play improved significantly going from -9 defensive runs saved to 5. Continue reading The Roller Coaster – Mike Trout’s 2015 Season Review→