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We keep getting messages from valued readers asking, Why is Mike Trout so good? At first we thought the answer was obvious ~ he’s been an All Star 8 times starting with his breakthrough rookie season ~ but thought to give it a closer inspection. So here you go, our best reasons why Mike Trout is an absolutely extraordinary baseball player.
Mike Trout is so good for a number of reasons, perhaps the most noteworthy being that he’s the total package for a professional baseball player. He has size, power, speed, defensive prowess, and even a friendly, likeable personality off the field. He possesses a high level of skill in baseball’s top talent categories ~ hitting, hitting with power, throwing, fielding, and running ~ and has earned eye-opening statistics since he first played in Major League Baseball in 2011.
Mike Trout is an American baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels, since he broke into Major League Baseball in 2011. The 6-foot 2-inch, 235-pound athlete is sized like a football player, yet plays one of the most difficult positions in the game, centerfield, with grace and style.
While Trout was at the tail end of his minor league seasoning, some baseball analysts said he would become the fastest player in the MLB once he got there. In his first full season in 2012 (in only 139 games as he started the year in the minors), Trout hit 30 home runs and stole 49 bases to lead the league. His impact was immediate.
That season he was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year ~ and he placed second in voting for Most Valuable Player! It was just his luck that his fine rookie season occurred when Miguel Cabrera became the first major leaguer since 1967 to win the triple crown.
Since then Trout has been called the best player in baseball probably more than any other active player. Former major league all-star Hunter Pence said Trout reminds him of Mickey Mantle with the power-and-speed combination, and Derek Jeter in that both became the faces of baseball during their tenures.
Trout’s physical size and skill levels as a player are formidable. The only way he could possibly get more recognition is if he played for a more gloried franchise. That the Los Angeles Angels are on the West Coast and rarely play deep into the playoffs makes Trout’s name diminish in the eyes of some fans.
But the numbers don’t lie. In only 11 MLB seasons, Trout has slugged 310 home runs, hit .305 cumulatively, grabbed over 200 steals and accumulated an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) over 1.000 for his career.
Many players would be happy to have an OPS over 1.000 for a season. Trout has done that 4 times, and came close (in the .990s) twice more. And he only turned 30 during his injury-shortened 2021 season.
The 2012 season when he placed second in the MVP voting? He led the league with a remarkable 10.5 wins-over-replacement (WAR) ~ much better than the 7.1 WAR posted by MPV Miguel Cabrera.
Trout has led the American League in runs scored 4 times, with a high of 129 in 2012. He led the league in runs batted in and stolen bases once each; base on balls 3 times; on-base percentage 4 times; slugging 3 seasons; and the crucial on-base plus slugging 4 times.
He was named the AL’s MVP 3 times, and placed second 3 other times. It’s clear that Trout has been among the top performers in baseball the past decade. He was named an All Star for 8 consecutive seasons, until the 2020 season when there was no all star game due to the pandemic.
“Mike Trout has been off-the-charts numbers-wise,” Pence said in a YouTube video. “It’s amazing that he’s done it for so long, and he’s still young.”
Comments on baseball-oriented online forums might tell the story best:
“Ludicrous OBP, great power, good defense, excellent baserunning; knows when to shorten up his swing for a quick single or XBH down the line or into the gap, etc.” said one commenter.
“Best hitter in the league (he hits for average and power, plus he has a fantastic eye, leading to lots of BBs). Plays good defense at a premium position. He steals bases.” said another.
Pence says he himself is a fan, even when he had to play against Trout in the American League West while with the Texas Rangers. Pence noted little things that make him stand out among other greats, like his swagger approaching the plate for an at-bat, his presence in the batter’s box, even his sheer physical size.
To say the sky’s the limit is not an over-exaggeration with Mike Trout. Many major league hitters got smarter and stronger in their later years, bumping up home run numbers (a la Hank Aaron).
What many fans are waiting for is Trout on a good Angels team that makes the playoffs and hopefully wins a World Series, thus gaining him the attention so many people believe he deserves.
Prior to his 2021 season which was cut to just 40 games due to leg injuries, Trout warned observers to watch out because he’d honed a few new hitting skills over the off season. Prior to getting hurt he looked prophetic, with 8 home runs and a 1.090 OPS in that short period.
Because of Trout’s consistency over a long period, sometimes he’s overlooked because it is expected that he plays well and puts up big numbers. There’s no surprise there, unlike when a rookie like Fernando Tatis starts clobbering homers.
However, Trout remains on a much higher level than the players he’s compared with. If some of the younger stars like Tatis or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. produce big for a decade, then maybe they can join the talk of the greatest player.
In fact, there has been much talk that Trout very well might become the greatest of all time in Major League Baseball, maybe even eventually challenging Barry Bonds’ record for lifetime home runs.
Aside from the recent injuries, Trout has been durable, and his athleticism has not waned. If the Angels can start winning more, Trout could easily once again become the talk of baseball.
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