Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout And Teammates

By Robert Cunningham - AngelsWin.com Columnist 

Mike Trout is a revelation. Mike Trout is the very definition of a spark that lights the flame. Hell, he turns that flame into a conflagration that burns as bright as the sun! Mike Trout, assuming he remains healthy, is on his way to making history and here is why:

Between 1871 and 2012 there have been only 18 players, with a minimum of 600 plate appearances (PA), who were age 20 or younger in their Rookie year. Mike Trout, based on the assumption that he will play another 95 out of the remaining 100 games on the MLB schedule, is projected to make another 432 PA’s (Currently he has 182 PA’s/40 Games = 4.55 PA/Game * 95 Games = 432.25 PA’s) for a grand total of 614 PA’s. So what is so special you ask? Let’s look to the numbers!

Out of that group of 18 young men, only five of them hit for an AVG of .300+: Ted Williams (.327), Orlando Cepeda (.312), Stuffy McInnis (.312), Vada Pinson (.310), and Rogers Hornsby (.306). Mike Trout, over his first 40 games, is hitting a remarkable .354 AVG! Even if you assume his .411 BAPIP is unsustainable and his AVG falls, Trout has a legitimate chance of exceeding Ted Williams .327 AVG in his rookie season! Williams head might be turning over in its grave at this news!

So, is that all you ask? No there’s more!
Out of that same group of 18 rookie players only four of them have hit 20+ home runs (HR) in their rookie year: Frank Robinson (38, wow!), Ted Williams (31), Orlando Cepeda (25), and Vada Pinson (21). Trout has hit 6 HR’s so far and, projecting that number over an additional 95 games, could potentially hit 20 or more HR’s by the season’s end! Mike is really joining an exalted, special group of players!

So you might ask, does this really make him a potential superstar? Well, there is still more evidence to convince you!

Only 2 of those 18 players had an On-base plus Slugging (OPS, a measure of how often a player gets on base combined with their ability to hit for power) over .900: Ted Williams (1.045) and Frank Robinson (.937). Mike, currently at a .977 OPS, clearly has a legitimate chance to maintain an OPS over .900 and could join this esteemed duo in the annals of baseball lore!

Now you are asking how does Mike Trout really make history beyond Ted Williams? I mean we are talking about a legendary Hall of Famer here? The answer is in, perhaps*, Trout’s greatest strength: his speed!

No rookie player, in their age 20 season or younger, has had more than 26 stolen bases (Stuffy McInnis holds the record of 26 in his rookie season). Mike Trout is currently on pace to reach 50 stolen bases by season’s end! That’s right, 50 SB’s! This stolen base mark, by itself, would be an MLB record by a rookie, age 20 or younger, with a minimum of 600 PA’s! Incredible! In fact, he may break this particular record sometime in late July or early August!

The caveats, of course, are that Mike needs to stay healthy, play in all of those games, accrue the plate appearances, and maintain his overall performance. However, it is quite clear that the 20-year old Trout has the potential to break, and even smash, rookie records that have stood for decades in the 2012 season! I feel very lucky that I am able to watch a player of Trout’s caliber play for the team that I have loved and adored for so many years. This is truly an exciting era in Angel’s baseball history, so sit back and enjoy this remarkable talent and his chase towards making baseball history.

* Trout’s speed is a fantastic asset but Mike’s plate discipline and ability to adjust to pitchers, in-game, is a rare talent.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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