Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout made it known that he did not feel like himself during the 60-game 2020 season. After working through some discomfort at the plate, he believed he was ready to be his best self in 2021 when it comes to production on offense.
Through seven games, his plan appears to be a massive success. In 32 plate appearances, Trout is slashing an absurd .417/.563/.875. In addition, he’s hit three home runs, has six RBI’s, seven runs, and eight walks. It’s safe to say that he’s once again playing like the best player in the world.
Angels manager Joe Maddon believes Trout is still fine-tuning some things, and that what we’re seeing now is just the “residue of great work,” according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He’s just fine-tuning things,” Maddon said. “Coming out of camp, he wasn’t quite right but he’s done a lot of work with the hitting coaches. We’re just seeing the residue of great work by a really good baseball player. So there’s no surprise element to any of this. He’s not doing anything new, it’s actually a lot of old stuff.”
The best performance of the first week of the season came Thursday night, when Trout went 3-for-5 and was a triple shy of the cycle. He hit a double and a home run off of Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ross Stripling, who didn’t sugarcoat things afterwards.
“Trout owns me,” Stripling said. “He knows it. I know it. Maybe by putting it out there into the atmosphere now, it will put some luck back in my favor. He kind of went out of the norm for him for both of those. Two outs, nobody on, swung at the first pitch both times. Double in the first, the homer in the fifth. Normally, he’s more passive there and trying to get ahead. With him, he’s a matchup nightmare for me because he hammers the ball down in the zone and hammers off-speed in the zone, which is my bread and butter. You can beat him up in the zone with velocity, but I throw 91 mph, so he can get to that as you saw on the home run.”
In Trout’s 11 career plate appearances against Stripling, Trout is 7-for-10 with three home runs and an OPS of 2.427. David Fletcher, who had the game-winning hit against the Blue Jays on Thursday, also had kind words for Trout after the game.
“When he’s doing his thing, it’s kind of contagious,” Fletcher said of Trout. “He kind of bails us out if we’re not swinging the bats well or just keeps us going. So that’s huge for him to be him.”
It’s one of the most unsurprising developments to begin the MLB season, but Trout appears to have regained his confidence at the plate, and the results are remarkable to watch.
This season, Trout will not only be going for his fourth MVP award, but he’ll also try with all of his might to garner some team success. If all goes well, the Angels can secure their first playoff berth since 2014 and the first playoff win of Trout’s career.
Front office praised for collaborative style
Trout is not the only one happy with the early success of his team. The catchers, Max Stassi and Kurt Suzuki, have been highly complementary of the front office and the way they communicate with the players.
This is especially true for the pitchers and catchers, as both groups have looked great through seven games, a trend they hope to continue as the season progresses.