There are a lot of 23-year-old baseball players reporting to spring training. Most are competing for a job or perhaps becoming familiar with coaches who they hope to be playing for later in the summer. Only one has an MVP award and is expected to carry his team to a playoff appearance, and more. It’s easy to forget how young Mike Trout is, but he will once again be the youngest player on the team unless Cam Bedrosian leaves Tempe for Anaheim.
MVP and accolades aside Trout is looking to get better, as any 23-year-old should. A scary proposition for opposing pitchers. How can he possibly get better after joining the names of Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle as comparable players though his age. Yesterday he gave an interview to reporters and revealed just what he intends to work on for the upcoming season.
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It’s no secret Mike Trout strikes out a lot. It’s the only part of his game that is below average. Last season he became the first MVP to leave the league in strikeouts. A dubious feet he did 184 times. The other side of that is that he improved his power numbers by going yard 36 times. It became obvious to pitchers and fans alike that Trout struggled with the ball up in the zone. That weakness was exploited and he knows it too saying,”It’s plain and simple – I was chasing the high pitch”.
If Trout can lay off the high pitches out of the zone not much more adjustments need to be made. He is a supreme talent who punishes pitches down in the zone where pitchers are trained to pitch these days. He’ll get plenty of good pitches to hit if he can adjust his already exceptional eye.
The Trout of last season seemed like a very different player from the one of prior seasons. He led the league in stolen bases during his rookie season with 49. Last year was a remarkable drop off from those numbers as he only swiped 16. He’s still fast but became much more selective. Those 16 bags came in only 18 attempts, proving he is still a serious threat. Pitchers and catchers still know it and they won’t be complacent.
His skills and baserunning I.Q. are obviously high so there might not be a lot he can do to improve. His OBP isn’t likely to take a huge jump up as it’s already at a career percentage of .395. The only real thing to do is trust his instincts and abilities and be more aggressive in his attempts. He simply needs to try more often and see how it goes.
This is Trout’s first season of the extension he signed last year and he’s finally getting compensated for the value of at least one WAR. He should reach that by May. All the greats he’s been compared to for the last three seasons improved at his age. If he continues to live up to those comparisons we’re in for a treat as Angels fans.