LA Angels: Is Mike Trout’s high strikeout rate cause for concern?
By Alfonso Cerna
It’s hard to find anything to nitpick about Mike Trout’s game. Statistically he’s been on top of the baseball world for the better part of a decade and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. That being said, he is human and he’s been prone to strikeouts at a high rate this season.
In 61 plate appearances, Trout has 19 strikeouts. The three-time MVP has punched out in 12 of 14 games this season, and has struck out three or more times in three of those contests. Trout’s four-strikeout performance on April 13 was the first time he wore the golden sombrero since 2017. His current 31.2 strikeout percentage is nearly ten percent higher than his career average (21.4%) and above MLB’s 2021 average (24.6%).
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Maybe it’s time the Halos consider moving on from Trout?
Alright definitely not, and I don’t believe there’s any reason to panic. Even with the high strikeout rate, Trout is slashing .354/.492/.688 with four home runs and 10 RBI while tallying at least one hit in 11 of 14 games. His current slash line is significantly higher than his career averages (.305/.418/.583). Trout is also tied for the third-most walks in the league with 13, just three behind MLB’s leader Joey Gallo (16).
Angels: Even with a high strikeout rate, Mike Trout is still amongst MLB’s best.
If his traditional box scores don’t convince any doubters, his Statcast data also provides evidence that he’s squaring the ball up more often than not.
Mike Trout Statcast MLB Rankings
- Avg. Exit Velocity: 95.3 MPH (6th)
- Hard Hit Percentage: 62.1% (3rd)
- Barrel Percentage: 24.1% (2nd)
If that’s not enough proof, Trout has MLB’s third-highest WAR (1.1) and the fifth-highest wRC+ (225). For as much as he’s struck out, he’s still among the elite, if not the elite in baseball.
Home runs, walks, and strikeouts are considered the ‘Three True Outcomes’ in today’s MLB era. Obviously it’s preferred to limit the K’s per game, but they’re bound to happen with a slug-first approach. Even with this mindset in the league, Trout ranks higher in walks (13-3rd MLB) and home runs (4-18th MLB), than he does in strikeouts (19-26th MLB).
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I’d consider all of Trout’s strikeouts to be a minor bump in the road. At this point in his 11-year career we know the kind of player he is.
The rest of his current stats prove it, and the empirical evidence gives reason to believe there’s nothing to worry about.