MIKE Trout is the consensus choice as the best player in baseball. There’s no denying it. Trout’s first five years in the majors have been simply breathtaking with the Los Angeles Angels outfielder and dual MVP winner, performing at a historic rate. Although his Angels haven’t experience much post season success it’s though no fault of Trout’s, who despite all his record setting numbers is actually still elevating his game.
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THE thought of Trout getting better is downright scary for other baseballers. It would be like giving Lebron James the jumpshot of Steph Curry. Like giving Rob Gronkowski the speed of Usain Bolt. It’s just not fair. In his first five full seasons he has either finished 1st or 2nd in the American League MVP voting and currently leads the league in slugging percentage (.757), OPS (1.223) and WAR (2.9) while contributing plenty of home runs (14) and stolen bases (9). Earlier this month Trout became the youngest player with 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases.
YOU know the numbers produced by Trout though, and even if you don’t at least you know that they are astonishing. He had the highest career WAR in history of a player at the age of 24 last year and based on his averages is likely to set the record for the 25 year old age bracket this season. He is just that much better than everyone else. That’s why despite the Angels winning just 74 games last year he was still awarded MVP honours. So how you ask, can a guy who is so god damn gifted when it comes to baseball get better? In years past Mike Trout has often been statuesque when it comes to swinging on first pitches, although in 2017 he seems to be adopting a more aggressive mentality. He still hits below the league average on such pitches, but Trout’s confidence and faith in his ability has him swinging at a career high rate of first pitches, clocking in at just a shade under 25%. It is that destructive demeanour that has Trout posting career bests in a lot of hitting categories, which is saying something considering his dominance over the past four/five seasons.
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STATISTICS continue to blow us away as we try to decipher what exactly Mike Trout can become. Even with his once in a generation type talent Trout still seems to be operating somewhat in silence, and fails to capture to eye of the general sports fan. He did have the highest selling jersey in the American League in 2016, but he only came in at #7 for the entire league. He isn’t flashy, he doesn’t stand out (unless he’s at the plate) and the humble star usually methodically goes about his business quietly. Trout is an investor and promoter for Bodyarmour sports drink and shares sponsorship deals with Subway and some Nike baseball gear. Apart from that though he keeps to himself. Sunday night against the New York Mets, Trout stepped to the plate trailing 7-4 with no outs and the bases loaded. The prospect of Trout clearing the wall was one that terrified Mets manager Terry Collins, who acknowledged that they considered giving Trout the ‘Barry Bonds’ treatment and intentionally walking him to avoid the possibility of a walk off grand slam.
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THAT alone speaks volumes to the perceived threat that Trout has become every time he steps to the plate. Teams would just flat out prefer to allow runs to filter through as long as it means avoiding Trout’s timber. It’s only mid-May but he seems poised to catapult himself from his 2012-2016 self into an entirely new stratosphere. While it is logical to compare Trout to Hall of Fame calibre legends of the sport it is now common practice to suggest Trout will surpass those former icons of baseball. With five Hall of Fame caliber seasons under his belt, if Trout continues to grow at the unparalleled rate, we are all doomed.
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