Fun fact. Mike Trout was a better all around hitter in 2017 than he's ever been. This kid is now 26 years old and is somehow still getting better. He didn't put up the home run and stolen base totals you're accustomed to last year...but that's because he missed a third of the season with a thumb injury. It's a shame since the future HOFer was playing as well as he ever had. By year end Trout had posted career highs in OBP, slugging, walk rate, and strikeout rate.
It's also a bummer that Trout got hurt since we can no longer say "every year Mike Trout has been in the majors he has finished either 1st or 2nd in the MVP voting". He came in 4th last year despite playing in just 114 games. What a bum. And oh yeah, even though he missed all that time he still put up 6.7 WAR (according to Baseball-Reference). Trout's 6.7 WAR season ranked 10th in ALL OF BASEBALL last year (pitchers included).
WAR is the first stat we use when we really want to hype Trout up. Consider the following facts:
-In 2017 Mike Trout became the third player to ever reach 50 WAR by the age of 25 (Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle) and he did it in the fewest amount of plate appearances.
-Before getting hurt in 2017 Mike Trout had led the American League in WAR every year since 2012.
-Mike Trout currently has more career WAR than 77 active Hall-of-famers (LMFAOOOO).
What's awesome about Trout is that "old school" baseball fans agree he's the best too. Usually when the advanced stats nerds are hooting and hollering it's because they disagree with the non-analytics crowd. Yet even if you go by the more traditional numbers what he has done is incredible. His career batting line is a beautiful .306/.410/.566. His 162 game average would be 35 homers, 100 RBIs, and 29 stolen bases. And oh yeah he's finished 1st or 2nd in the MVP voting every full season he has played in the majors. Trout is the unanimous best player in baseball and he's still in his prime. I can't wait to see what he has in store for 2018.
What happened last year?
On April 9th of last year the Angels were trailing the Seattle Mariners 9-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. "Anaheim" went on to score seven runs and won on a walk-off. It might've been the highlight of their season, which is never something you want to say about a game that takes places less than two weeks after Opening Day.
On the bright side this was a team that was noticeably better in 2017 than they were in 2016. The Angels were in the AL Wild Card race up until the end, eventually finishing five games behind the Minnesota Twins. Other highlights from the season include Andrelton Simmons becoming a superstar, Albert Pujols' 600th career homer, and the big trade for Justin Upton.
Did anything change?
The "Mike Trouts" had themselves one hell of an off-season by re-signing Upton and adding Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler, and Zack Cozart. I wrote about it back in January.
Why should fans be excited?
It's only March 2nd, but so far the story of Spring Training has been Ohtani AKA Japan's Babe Ruth. Irrational people were upset when he first signed with the Angels. They wanted to see him in the bright lights of New York. Ohtani knows, however, that there won't be as much pressure in Anaheim. I think this is good for baseball. If Ohtani had went to the Yankees and "failed" as a hitter early on, the media would've been all over him. But in Anaheim? He's going to have the chance to develop. It's going to be a process but it's going to give him the best chance at becoming great, which is what is best for baseball.
Backyard Baseball 2018 representative:
Ohtani would be fun this has to be Trout, and the question now becomes would Trout be a better playable character than Pablo "Secret Weapon" Sanchez? It's worth asking since (in this blogger's opinion) Pablo isn't just the most talented backyard kid of the franchise, he's the best all around player.
In BB01 any team I built centered around Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr, and Pablo. (side note Barry Bonds somehow wasn't that fun in this game). Yet if you told me I could only take one of those three...it's Pablo. I don't want to live in a world where Pablo isn't the GOAT. We'll make Trout's stats good, but let's not get too carried away.
Mike Trout BB18 stats: