2016 Projections: Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout
By Christoph Ludwig
We’re beginning a series where we project and predict the performance of the Angels lineup in 2016. What better place to start than with the best player in baseball, Mike Trout?
2015 season: .299/.402/.590, 41 home runs, 90 RBIs, 11 stolen bases
Career average: .304/.397/.559, 35 home runs. 99 RBIs, 28 stolen bases
2016 projection: .303/.399/.570, 31 home runs, 87 RBIs, 15 stolen bases (Baseball Reference)
Trout has consistently put up huge numbers beginning with his first full season in 2012, winning a Rookie of the Year award, and finishing in the top two in MVP voting in each of the last four seasons, winning the award in 2014. He’s shown no signs of slowing down, and appears set to have another outstanding season.
Baseball Reference projects Trout to hit roughly the same as he did last season. However, they do predict that he hits a few less homers and drives in a few less runs than he did in 2015. The RBI projections make sense, because the Angel lineup is expected to be pretty weak overall and will again lack a true leadoff hitter to set the table for Trout in the 3rd spot. The home run projection is a little odd, considering that he hit a career high 41 last season and has showed no signs of losing any power. I understand where they’re coming from, however, because the Angels play in a pitcher-friendly park and he’s likely to be pitched around quite a few times, especially if Albert Pujols has a down year.
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Trout has said this spring that he’s recommitted himself to stealing more bases, saying that a lack of confidence and failing to get good jumps and reads are to blame for the rapid decline in his stolen base totals. He was caught 7 times in 18 attempts last season for a dismal 61% success rate (for stolen bases to be beneficial, a runner needs to be successful roughly 75% of the time). He might not be as fast as he was when he first came into the league, when he led the league with 49 stolen bases and was only caught five times (91% success rate) but he’s still very fast and there’s no reason he can’t become a good base stealer again. Base stealing is predicated more on reading pitchers and getting good jumps than it is on speed, and if he works on it he should be able to steal 25-30 bases this year.
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Ultimately, Trout appears primed for another All-Star appearance and an MVP-caliber season. If he actually gets some support from his teammates, especially Pujols batting behind him, his numbers could be even better than his stellar 2016 projections.