Originally written on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 11/15/14
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Sabermetric Spotlight: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim The Reason -

There should be zero question as to why I’m writing about Mike Trout for my latest installment of Sabermetric Spotlight. The kid is a phenom, already. Most likely your 2012 AL MVP. He just turned 21. My biggest question heading into this article is finding out what exactly he excels with and gain some more respect for just how special this year has been. Man crush engage!

 

Basic Numbers -

Some of you might not remember that he appeared in 40 games last year and recorded 132 plate appearances, lets compare to this year.

Weird, huh? Last year look like numbers you would see from a 19 year-old making their major league debut. This year he has an unreal .344/.407/.606 slash line, with not to mention 24 HRs and 39 SBs. These are video game numbers. I guess the only negative is that he strikes out more than he walks?

Sabermetrics -

Immediately we see that he has already improved his eye and patience at the plate. Walking almost 3% more this year and striking out 2% less. That is a good and scary trend (for opposing pitchers, duh). Yes, Mike’s BABIP is sky high at .390 but it isn’t even one of the highest two on the year (Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson take the claim), it might dip a bit to finish the year, but it’s not far off from past years leaders. His power (ISO) has skyrocketed this year as he has only begun (more on this later) to fill out, his speed has not waned as a result either.

His line-drive percent is right near 1 out of 4 which translates into seeing the ball very well out of pitchers hand. Trout isn’t hitting that many fly-balls, but when he does, over 1 out of 5 leave the yard, this will fall. There really isn’t much to hate, he hits ground-balls the most, but with his speed, there is no worry.

Pitch and Swing Data -

Looking at what pitches he is seeing, teams have shied away from the curveball (down 3.4% to 8.2%) and have thrown more fastballs (up to 65.9% from 58.2% last year). All the rest are steady…why aren’t teams throwing more curves to him?

Further continuing the theme of his sharpened eye, Mike is swinging at less pitches outside of the strikzone (down 3.5% to 26.3%).  When he does swing at a would-be-called ball, he is making more contact (73.9% of the time up from 68%). Overall, he is swinging at just about the same amount of pitches (39.7%) and is seeing 50.7% of total pitches inside the strikezone. He swings at the first pitch a little over half the time at 55.6% and only swings and misses on 6.5% of pitches (down form 7.1% last year). He has robotic eyes.

Forward Looking -

His current WAR is 7.2 and he has played 20 games less than the next highest at 6.3. Think about that.

Looking more into the future than this year, his body appears as if it will fill out and continue to add muscle. Will his homeruns increase? Yes. Will his stolenbases dip? Yes. Will he still be a stud? Yes.

There is nothing not to like here.

Fantasy Analysis -

Do you like creating superhuman baseball players in video games? Well, that’s essentially what Mike Trout is. He hits for power, steals bases, leading the league in average and scores almost a run per game. If you have him and aren’t in the top 3 or 4 of your league, shame on you!

Did You Know? -

The Yankees were poised to take Mike if  he fell to them 4 picks later in the 2009 draft.

 

Conclusion and Projection -

Attempting to answer my question is easy and hard at the same time. His eye for the ball is outstanding and he does everything well. The only negative thing about Mike Trout is that he plays out on the west coast. The majority of (baseball) America (Eastern Seaboard) is not getting the routine opportunities to see his games live, which is a tragedy. This 2012 year of his happens so rare that I would be shocked to see it replicated in my lifetime (I’m 27). Doing what he is doing as a rookie is unbelievable. In my opinion there is not even a debate on who should win the AL MVP this year, it’s the rookie, Mike Trout. If the Angels fail to make the playoffs some writers will hold that against him in balloting, but it wont matter, he has been the biggest difference on any team all year, give him the hardware!

 Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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