Mike Trout is the front-runner to win 3rd AL MVP Award
By David Rice
Before the 2019 season Mike Trout signed the richest deal in baseball history 12 years for 429 million dollars. When many players sign a big contract their production tends to dip at first. Not Mike Trout, he is only getting better.
When the 2019 season started there was plenty of optimism for Angel fans as their biggest fear, Mike Trout leaving the Angels when he became a free agent after the 2020 season were dashed. Everyone knew that Trout would now be an Angel for life (or close to it at age 38). The Angels had made some moves that they were hoping had plugged some major holes they had had the previous season.
Unfortunately for the Angels and their fans things did not go as planned. Numerous injuries and players underperforming have made for another year of disappointment in Anaheim. One of the few bright spots: We still have Mike Trout for 11 more years.
So how has Mike Trout performed in the first year of his new contract. Spectacularly!
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This season Mike Trout has put together his best individual season yet. Trout is leading the American League in home runs and runs batted in, something he has never done before in his seven-year career. As of Tuesday Trout is hitting .295 with 39 home runs and 92 RBIs. He leads the AL in home runs by four over the Royals Jorge Soler who has 35. Trout’s 92 RBIs also leads the AL by two as Boston’s Rafael Devers who has 90.
Trout also leads all of Major League Baseball with 92 walks, which is two more than the Phillies Rhys Hoskins who has 90 free passes. Trout is tied for the MLB lead in home runs with reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich with 39. He is three RBIs begins MLB leaders Josh Bell and Freddie Freeman, who both have 95 RBIs. It is not a stretch of the imagination that Trout could end leading the majors in both home runs and RBIs, as well as walks.
For Trout he is closing in on career-highs in both categories as he hit 41 homers in 2015 and he drove in 111 runs in Trout’s second MVP season of 2016. Both of those totals should be broken by Trout this season. Trout even has a good chance to finish with 50+ homers for the first time in his career. If he hits nine more home runs this season (which would give him 48) he would shatter the Angel all-time single-season home run mark of 47 set by Troy Glaus in 2000.
If nothing else Angels can enjoy watching Mike Trout chase Angels’ history. The Angels have only had two players ever lead the AL in home runs in a season with Bobby Grich finishing in a four-way tie in the strike-shortened 1981 season and the aforementioned Troy Glaus leading the AL with 47 in 2000. No Angel player has ever led the majors in home runs in a single season.
As for RBIs the Angels have had two players lead the AL in runs batted in. Don Baylor drove in a team-record 139 runs in his 1979 MVP campaign, which led all of the MLB. Trout drove in 111 runs in 2016 during his MVP campaign.
With Trout having a phenomenal season he should be a shoo-in for winning his 3rd AL MVP award. Especially since there is no one in the American League having a spectacular season such as Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown season in 2012 that denied Mike Trout of being a Rookie of the Year and AL MVP Award winner in his first season.
Some Trout critics could say the old argument that he was not on a successful team, but with his whole body of work it is almost impossible to deny Trout of the MVP. Trout is leading the AL in Wins Above Replacement also known as WAR, and he also leads all of MLB in On-Base-Percentage (OBP) and is second in the majors behind Yelich in OPS as well.
Enough said. Barring injury, Mike Trout will be the 2019 AL MVP. It is at least one bright spot in an otherwise tough season for the Angels. Keep up the good work Mike!!!