Careful. Do not look directly in Mike Trout’s eyes for too long or risk being sucked into his vortex.
How can you not be mesmerized by Mike Trout? He dazzled the crowd last season with superhuman leaps at the wall to rob home runs, acrobatic diving plays, and fierce strength at the plate. He does it all with a sparkle in his eye that is simply hypnotic. The kid has charisma and he has set the standards high for this year. The Los Angeles Angels are expecting nothing but the best from their starting outfielder, but can he do it again?
Last season the rookie was explosive hitting 30 home runs and 83 RBIs with a slash line of .326/.399/.564. The All-Star was not just known for his skill in the outfield or his hitting power, he also had incredible speed, leading the majors with 49 stolen bases in 2012. Yes 49. I even triple checked that number before writing this post. These numbers are more impressive knowing he did not even put on a major league uniform in 2012, until April 28th.
He sealed the 2012 season with the American League Rookie of the Year Award and a Silver Slugger Award. He also lead the AL in WAR with 10.7 and runs with 129. He was the whole package and undoubtably deserved the titles he earned.
The 21 year old must have enormous pressure entering the 2013 season. To be even remotely close to his rookie year he will have some serious work to do. No one wants to be a one-hit wonder. However, break out years are usually just that. Break outs. Then the player cools off and someone else takes the spotlight. Many are already concerned about his apparent weight gain over the off season. Rest assured, Trout will most likely leave his heavier self behind in Spring Training and will be ready to go Opening Day.
The outfielder may have a lot to live up to, but he is still growing as a player, and as long as something does not shake his momentum he can have another great season. One thing is for sure, every one is waiting to see what he will do next and I think he has more surprises up his sleeve.
With Trout and his outstanding year, Mark Trumbo shifted out of the media attention, but that might not have been the fault of his teammate. Trumbo was hot the first half of the season with 42 runs and 22 home runs in 288 at bats. He was .306/.358/.608 and was even invited to the All-Star game. The power hitter competed in the Home Run Derby which resulted in a tie breaker against Blue Jay’s slugger Jose Bautista. Bautista then went on to the final round and lost to Tiger’s Prince Fielder.
Right after the All-Star Game, Trumbo cooled off while still being pretty dangerous at the plate. Then, in July he had a minor injury with his back. The pain did not bench him for long, but after that he seemed to fall into a slump. He had only 24 Runs and 10 home runs in 256 at bats. His slash line fell to .227/.271/.359. He had 88 strikeouts the second half of the season compared to only 65 during the first half, emphasizing his struggle at the plate. The numbers speak for themselves. Was it the injury, or is this the Trumbo we should expect to see from now on-a clear power hitter who may or may not make contact with the ball?
My thoughts on what Trumbo will be like in 2013 is this: Still dangerous. Still powerful. Maybe not quite as dominant as he was in the beginning of last year. As long as his foot injury that occurred last fall heals properly, he should be ready to do some damage this season. With his consistency in 2011, it is safe to say he will be productive and prove to be valuable to the Angels this year.
When the Angels signed superstar Josh Hamilton many were left wondering what would happen to Trumbo. After the initial gossip and frantic worry, it looks as though they will still find room for him. He might become their main designated hitter. The addition of veteran Hamilton may be a good presence in the clubhouse for both Trout and Trumbo. The new Angel might give that extra push to keep them going strong all season long.
Will Trout be as amazing as last season; will Trumbo come out of his slump? If they both can stay consistent and healthy throughout the season, the two of them will end up taking over the AL West, wowing the fans with more fancy plays and launching baseballs even further into the seats. Prepare yourselves. They have a lot more to offer in their bag of tricks.