Category Archives: Opinion

What to watch for from Mike Trout in 2017

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.

The Unknown Superstar – Mike Trout’s 2016 Season Review

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 of course made some stunning plays in the field, at the plate and on the base paths. Check out this diving catch to save extra bases

And this leaping catch on this birthday to take away a grand slam.

And this stinging extra base hit that he ran down with almost perfect efficiency.

You must see these two physics defying slides against the Blue Jays to believe they actually happened.

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 Owns New Skill in Modern Baseball

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.

If you’re not following Mike Trout make sure to add him to your list

Instagram – @MikeTrout

SnapChat – @millville27

The Unspoken Truth About “Trading Mike Trout”

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:

Is there a fair price for Mike Trout?

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.

Continue reading The Unspoken Truth About “Trading Mike Trout”

The Roller Coaster – Mike Trout’s 2015 Season Review

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

What Happened to Mike Trout?

Mike Trout has experienced the worst single month of his playing career in August of 2015. The Angels offense has always been somewhat tied to Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. As both of them have hit a major slump the Angels have plummeted in the standings from first place to third. They currently are completely out of the playoff picture and have dropped back down to a losing record.

Trout’s numbers for August 2015

It’s hard not to wonder if a wrist injury sustained on July 26 is not to blame. After sitting out 4 games, all medical reports said that Mike was healthy and able to play. But the results on the field have left many curious about his ability to bat.

Continue reading What Happened to Mike Trout?

Mike Trout – Halfway Through 2015

Mike Trout has reached the halfway point of his fourth full year in the Major Leagues and we have enough numbers to gauge how he might finish the year.  2014 brought Mike his first American League MVP award and so far he appears on track to be in the running for back-to-back awards.

Mike has also earned his fourth straight All-Star Game Selection and his third straight starting honor. He’ll get to start the game with his teammate Albert Pujols.

Let’s look at Trout’s projected numbers compared to his 2014 MVP numbers. Continue reading Mike Trout – Halfway Through 2015

Mike and Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle nd MIke Trout

Many comparisons have been made between Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle. The stats in their first 4 years provide the story on their own. Those comparisons gained even more traction with high praise for Trout from Mantle’s son David. Bob Costas interviewed David Mantle on MLB Network about the two ball players.

Time will tell if the comparisons hold true throughout their careers. Trout will likely never match 12 American League Championships or 7 World Series rings because of greater parity within baseball. Mantle’s career was plagued by injuries in part because of poor field conditions and compounded by alcoholism. Trout’s ability to avoid those hurdles opens the door for him to have even greater individual accomplishments. The New York Yankees had planned to draft Trout with their first round pick, but lost out by one slot to the Los Angeles Angels. The image of Trout in pinstripes is probably more than New York fans would like to imagine.

There is always hope of seeing another Mickey Mantle take the field and it appears Mike Trout’s time has come. Perhaps Mike Trout wears #27 because he’s the second #7.

Trout’s Hot Start, Fact or Fluke

The Angels have now played 11 games and the most obvious thing happening on the field is Mike Trout’s incredibly hot start. He’s currently hitting .400 with 3 home runs and an .OPS of 1.250. The season is a little too young to expect things to continue at this pace but a number of analyst have begun to look into the numbers and see some things that suggest that Trout has made adjustments to compensate for his high strikeout rate in 2014.

First ESPN’s Buster Posey makes notes of Mike’s lower pitch-per-plate-appearance rate. Watch the video below:

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register notes that Trout’s BABIP (Batting Average of Balls in Play) is much higher than the league average which means he’s getting lucky. But perhaps that’s not the entire story.
Continue reading Trout’s Hot Start, Fact or Fluke