The Los Angeles Angels entered the 2023 season with a roster built around two players, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. For this team to get anywhere, they'd need their two superstars to stay healthy and productive.
For most of the first half of the season, this plan of having Ohtani and Trout lead the way was working. Trout was able to stay healthy until right before the all-star break when he fractures his hamate bone on a swing. This was a crushing blow for the Angels, but the hope was Trout would be back sometime in August.
He did make a valiant effort to return from the IL when he clearly wasn't ready, but after just one game he had to shut it down again and did not return. This was just the latest unfinished season for Trout as injuries have become far too common for the future Hall of Famer.
Mike Trout deserves a B- for his 2023 season
While the injuries have become extremely frustrating for Angels fans who want to see Trout lead the team back to the postseason, this one in particular is pretty hard to blame him for. It's not like he wasn't in playing shape, he simply fractured a bone on a swing. It was a freak injury. Frustrating, but Trout deserves no blame for that whatsoever.
What Trout does deserve some blame for is him having the worst season of his career prior to the injury. Trout wound up slashing .263/.367/.490 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI in 82 games this season. The game total was obviously way too low, but his numbers accross the board were taking serious hits.
Trout's 28.7% K-rate was as high as it has ever been. His 5.0 HR% was the lowest it had been since 2016. His 134 WRC+ was a career low by almost 30 points. The eye test would back up the numbers. He looked like he was in decline a bit.
With that being said, Trout in decline is still an elite player. A 134 WRC+ was still higher than players like Corbin Carroll, Luis Arraez, Luis Robert Jr., and Adley Rutschman. That's all great, but he just wasn't Mike Trout. He was more of a top-20 hitter instead of the best of the best.
Trout just turned 32, so he might just be an all-star now instead of the game-changing superstar he was for so long. He's still an awesome player, but injuries have clearly caught up to him. Hopefully he can find a way to stay on the field more in 2024. The Angels desperately need him, and Angels fans need to be able to watch him play.