LA Angels Midseason Report Card: Mike Trout
By David Peng
The MLB All-star break is around the corner, Halo Hangout will be handing out their midseason grades on how the LA Angels’ players have done thus far.
Spoiler Alert: Mike Trout is getting an A with lots of pluses, but you already knew that. By the middle of May, it wasn’t just stathead outlets like Fangraphs or BaseballProspectus saying it, but mainstream sources like ESPN making culturally official: Mike Trout is having one of the greatest seasons of all time. The crazy thing is, since that article was written, Trout got even hotter: he’s hit .335/.479/.623. over his last 49 games, and .314/.457/.618 for the season.
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There are all sorts of crazy stats that we can highlight to show the craziness of Trout’s greatness, but here’s one you haven’t heard: with two outs and runners in scoring position, Trout’s 6-21 with three homers. That’s right: Trout’s come up with to hit with RISP and two outs 40 times thus far, and half the time, teams have allowed him to actually swing the bat just 21 times. In those 40 plate appearances, opposing teams have walked him 17 times, 11 times intentionally, and hit him once, for an absurd batting line of .286/.615/.714. In other words, teams have simply given up on trying to get him out in RBI situations. Who can blame them?
Enjoy it while you can, Angel fans. The level of baseball that Mike Trout is putting on the field is as great a single-player exhibition of everyday production as any in baseball history. Trout isn’t just having a great season, he might be having the greatest season. It’s now possible to envision a point where people stop comparing him to Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle simply because he’s better than they were. It’s a crazy stupid thought, but that’s how crazy stupid good Trout has become.
Mid-Season Grade: A++++++++++++++++++
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Conversely, this makes it much more painful when the rest of the team can’t put anything together around him to push him into the postseason. This has propelled some absurd arguments by fans who, tired of losing, are suggesting that Trout be traded for prospects. Rather than deal with a Manny Machado situation, fans want to trade him now, before his contract comes up in 2020. This is dumb. Trout’s so great, it’s simply not going to be possible to get anywhere near equal value for him. The Angels’ problem is that there are too many zeros in the lineup, too many injuries in the rotation, and too many duds in the bullpen. Consider that Kole Calhoun has just a .507 OPS, Ian Kisler a .650 OPS, Zack Cozart a .658 OPS and Luis Valbuena a .603 OPS, then consider that the Angels somehow still have a league average offense. Mike Trout evens out ALL THOSE DUDES PUT TOGETHER. That’s how good he is. Don’t trade this guy. Solving those weaknesses should not involve creating one in a space where the team is historically great.