In 2012 Mike Trout had the best age 20 season of any player in the history of Major League Baseball. That's a pretty phenomenal start to a career. Since then all he's done is pile up tons of WAR. He has the most ever through an age 24 season, and is on pace to have the most ever through an age 25 season. As of last September he had already compiled more WAR than 48 active Hall of Famers. He's quite literally one of the best young players ever and in 2014 signed a six year, $144.5 million contract that set him up for life. It would have been easy for all this to have been enough for him.
People never talk about his competitiveness though. Maybe it's because he's barely played in the playoffs or because he doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve the way Bryce Harper does. Regardless of the reason it's time to start appreciating the fact that this guy really does want to be one of the best ever. He's already set for life financially and has two MVPs, but Trout is constantly working on his game to find ways to improve. For example when there was a hole in his swing with high fastballs, he re-worked his approach to be able to hit them. When he stole just 27 bases between 2014 and 2015 and people said he was getting slow, he went out and stole 30 last year alone.
In 2017 Trout is continuing to improve. He is walking more than ever, striking out almost less than ever, and is hitting more home runs than ever. How is he doing so? He's become more selective at the pitches he swings at. Basically on pitches outside of the strike zone (aka balls) he's using his exceptional batting eye to just not swing. If it's a bad pitch he's taking it. But on pitches in the strike zone (so strikes) he's become more aggressive, particularly on the first pitch of the at bat. This may not seem like a big deal but it's the type of adjustment great hitters make. Trout is currently homering in 7.7% of his plate appearances, way up from his 4.9% career average.
I'm going to start nitpicking now, but that's what we have to do when discussing the arguable GOAT. Trout so far has posted career highs in both slugging and ISO, but his HR/FB ratio (basically how many fly balls are actually leaving the park) suggests he's been a little lucky. However, while the current home run rate may not last the adjustments he's made for when to swing give reason to believe he could still have his best power season yet. The 25-year-old is somehow still improving one of the best skill sets we've ever seen, so it's not out of the question to think the best is still yet to come for him.