Mike Trout’s 2021 season will hopefully be remembered as the worst of his career. In the pandemic shortened 2020 season Trout only played in 53 games. To everyone’s shock that would not be the lowest game total in his career. On May 17th, while playing the Cleveland Indians, Trout pulled his right calf while running from second to third base on a 2-out pop-up. He immediately knew he was seriously hurt upon returning to the dugout. He later explained that he felt a pop while pushing off.
The injury was expected to take 6-8 weeks for recovery. Unfortunately, it robbed Trout of the remainder of the season. In the end, he only played 36 games. Despite working hard to return, his leg continued to give him problems the day after working out. By mid-August, it was decided that he would no longer attempt to return this year.
The injury turned out to be devastating to the Angels’ chances of competing in the playoffs. Trout started off the year with stats that held the potential to be his greatest offensive season ever. The additional firepower from Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, and Jared Walsh, promised to give him added lineup protection. Ohtani went on to have a historic year at the plate and on the mound. Despite a number of other key injuries, Angel fans were left wondering what could have been if just Trout had been able to return to action.
Despite only playing in 36 games Trout remained the team’s most productive outfielder. He produced 1.8 WAR, more than all other outfielders combined.
Angels outfielders:— Fuzzy (@fuzzyfromyt) September 22, 2021
Taylor Ward: 0.5-WAR
Brandon Marsh: 0.3-WAR
Jo Adell: 0.3-WAR
Phil Gosselin: -0.1-WAR
Jose Rojas: -0.4-WAR
Juan Lagares: -0.5-WAR
Justin Upton: -0.6-WAR
Mike Trout: 1.8-WAR … he hasn’t played since May 17th
The off-season will produce a number of questions about the future of Mike Trout and the Angels. Albert Pujols completed the last year of his contract which will add $30 million to the budget of free-agent pitching help. Fans will wait with bated breath to see if Trout can return to Spring Training fully healthy. The emergence of prospect Brandon Marsh’s excellent defense in center field will raise the specter of Trout once again returning to left field; a position he hasn’t played since 2013. This evokes the memory of Torii Hunter moving to right field in order to make room for a young Mike Trout. The veteran Trout will likewise soon have the opportunity to mentor potential All-Stars, Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell, joining him in the outfield.
The bitter hope of “next year” once again strikes Mike Trout. Here’s hoping that Trout and the rest of the Angels escape injury in 2022 and find their way into the playoffs.