Mike Trout’s career turnaround in 2024 has been more than just health and homers

Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

You have to hand it to Mike Trout — the guy will live and die by Los Angeles Angels baseball. During spring training, he set off a couple of alarm bells by kinda, sorta, alluding to being open to a trade for the first time in his long tenure with the Anaheim. It would make sense; Trout has spent 14 years with a team that has only been able to get him to the postseason once (10 years ago, when he went 1-12 at the plate).

Shohei Ohtani is gone and Arte Moreno is seemingly fine with a third or fourth place finish in the AL West year after year, but Trout is steadfast. The Angels drafted them, so he'll (try to) win a World Series with them too.

We've known for a very long time that Trout carries the team on his back, and the struggle has always been finding players who can actually share the load. However, injuries have plagued him over the last three seasons and limited him to 237 games out of 486. Ohtani was the one to shoulder responsibility during that time, but he's lost to the Dodgers now.

This year, though, Trout is back to what seems like full health, and he's better than ever in a few ways you might not expect.

Mike Trout's resurgence for the LA Angels goes past power

Trout, who once led MLB in stolen bases with 49 in 2012, hasn't had a 10+ stolen base season since 2019 despite always having elite sprint speed. But now, even at 32, he's turning the burners on again. From 2020-2023, he only stole six bags in seven attempts. In just 22 games this season, he's stolen five bases in five attempts and is on pace to steal over 50. That almost certainly won't actually happen, but he's already broken past some projections that guessed he'd only swipe three or four bags.

He's also striking out less. Heavy hitters like Trout are sort of supposed to be free swingers, but he's been more patient so far this season than he has been since 2017, when he had a career-low 17.8% K rate over 114 games. That, combined with his clear willingness to run when he sees his opportunity, presents us with the whole package — patience at the plate, aggression when he gets on base.

And he's been slugging, because of course he has. Through Sunday, Trout's hit eight home runs to lead the AL, and he already has two triples in 2022 to match the ones he put up last season in 81 games.

Trout hasn't had a 30-30 season since 2012, when he was almost 30-50, but he's already well on his way. Now, he just needs the rest of the Angels' lineup to follow his lead.