Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slugger Trout has bestowed the title of best pitcher he’s faced.
It is almost without a doubt that Mike Trout is considered the best player in Major League Baseball. It is also without contention that the first nine years of his career have been an unequivocal success, putting him on par with some of the greatest stars to ever play the game.
But when you ask the man himself about the best he’s ever faced, the answer may surprise you.
Still just 29-years-old, Trout has already faced some of the best pitchers of the 21st century. However, when given options like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Zack Greinke, and Corey Kluber, the Angels’ slugger came up with another name that shouldn’t shock you.
Appearing on Nike’s Instagram account (h/t MLB), Trout was asked the question by Brooke Koepka. He didn’t even hesitate a second, instantly naming Scherzer.
"“I got to say Scherzer. I was happy when he left for the National League so I didn’t have to face him in Detroit,” said Trout."
In the conversation, he specifically discussed his 2018 All-Star Game at-bat against Mad Max. After striking out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve on just six pitches to start the game, Trout did all he could to avoid the immaculate inning. Instead, he forced an eight-pitch walk and deemed it the best at-bat he’d ever had against the Nationals’ ace. Of course, Trout would take advantage of his second at-bat in that game, hitting a solo home run off of Jacob DeGrom.
It’s not hard to see why Trout holds Scherzer in such high regard. In 16 at-bats against the right-hander (not counting the All-Star Game), Trout has managed just a .188/.188/.438 batting line, with a single home run and 10 strikeouts to show to his name. Considering Trout is a career .305/.419/.581 hitter against the league as a whole, it is fairly safe to note that Scherzer may be the only pitcher with the correct formula to get him out.
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If there is a silver-lining for Mike Trout and Angels fans, it is that the current iteration of the 2020 season, when it gets started, is not likely to include a match-up with Max Scherzer and the Nationals. That will keep the right-hander on the East Coast until a potential World Series match-up, giving Trout plenty of time to figure out a solution.