Mike Trout is a “Career MVP” for the Angels

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 24: A Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan holds up a sign as Mike Trout
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 24: A Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan holds up a sign as Mike Trout /

Mike Trout was having another MVP-like season and then disaster struck when a ligament in his thumb in late May and had to spend seven weeks on the disabled list.  When he came back Trout was hot, but then he got super cold.

Mike Trout has finished in the top two in the AL MVP race in each of his first five season, winning the award twice.  Unfortunately with the injury and cold spell, Trout will most likely not finish in the top three in the 2017 AL MVP race.  However, this does not mean Trout’s season has been a disappointment.  Not by a longshot. Despite not being in the MVP conversation here at the end of the season, Trout is something much bigger, he is a “Career MVP”.

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So what do I mean by this statement, “Career MVP”?  I say this because Trout is not only one of the best all-around players in the game, he respects the game and plays it the right way.  Just ask Inland Empire 66’ers manager Chad Tracy who got a chance to manage Trout for a week earlier this season while Trout was rehabbing his injured thumb.

“Mike Trout leaves no stone unturned he was talking to our hitting coach about the scouting reports on the pitchers.  He asked about where we wanted him to play in the outfield on certain hitters,” Tracy said. “Tonight he tried to beat out a double-play ball in a 12-1 game, in an “A” ball game.  The way he goes about playing the game is the way game is supposed to be play.  I have never seen anyone better than him.”

Mike Trout has had another great season despite missing so much time.  Trout hit two more homers last night in a 6-5 comeback victory over Seattle.  The first of two homers he hit was his 200th career home run which makes him only the fourth player in MLB history to hit 200 homers before their 26th birthday.  Trout is in good company as Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, and Alex Rodriguez are the only others to accomplish this feat.

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The two homers brought Trout to 33 homers for the season his fourth time he has hit more that 30 home runs in a season.  Trout’s RBI total is way down as he only has 72 this season, but if you take into account he missed 43 games this season that number would probably be close to 100 if not for the injury.  Trout also has stolen 22 bases, and scored 92 runs.

What has gone somewhat unnoticed is that Trout has a career-high on-base-percentage of .446 and a slugging percentage of .638 which combine for a 1.084 OPS.  These are all career bests for Trout.  If not for his September slump Trout would have been in the MVP talk, especially if he could have helped lead the Angels to the playoffs.  In September Trout has hit .244 with six homers and 11 RBIs which doesn’t sound that bad.

However, before the last six games Trout was hitting only .217 in September with three homers and five RBIs.  The Angels as a whole slumped in September which caused them to fall out of contention for the second wildcard spot.  Despite all this in true Trout form he has not quit and still has a strong desire to give it 110% no matter what the situation is.

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Last night’s game against Seattle was a meaningless game for Trout and the Angels, but that didn’t stop Trout from competing.  Trout was the catalyst of a four-run rally in the 8th inning that brought the Angels back from a 5-2 deficit to a 6-5 lead and eventual victory.

So what makes Trout tick, how does he stay focused despite another disappointing ending to an Angel season?  I believe I got a little insight to this earlier this season when I covered Trout’s rehab assignment in San Bernardino for the Inland Empire 66’ers.

Someone asked Trout in a post-game interview if he was having more fun out there on that particular night where he went 2 for 2 with two walks, as compared to his 1 for 7 performance the first two nights of his rehab. His answer was priceless and gives you a little bit of an idea about the man they call “The Kid”.

“I’m always having fun out there every time I play. I enjoyed playing with these guys (66’ers) Tracy has a great group down here. I love playing this game,” Trout said.

This was said after playing in a minor league game of no consequence other than rehabbing his injured thumb.

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So fans come out tonight and tomorrow to the final two games and watch a true superstar in all senses of the word.  Mike Trout is a career MVP because he does all the little things and as Tracy said he plays the game the right way, and the important thing he loves playing this game.