It’s often a difficult task trying to analyze exactly who is the MVP during an MLB season. The stats are there and somebody will be bestowed with that honour at the end of the campaign, but calculating true value and comparing the skills of a pitcher with, say, a slugger and an outfielder is not an enviable undertaking.
But most judges would surely agree on one thing: Mike Trout is currently one of the very best in the business. He leads the MLB’s nominal MVP race ahead of the outstanding DJ LeMahieu, despite lining up for a Los Angeles Angels outfit with a mediocre 44-43 record so far this season.
That would be his third American League MVP win, to go with eight All-Star Game appearances, and explains why the Angels handed Trout the most lucrative contract in the history of North American sports earlier this year.
There are many perks of playing for the franchise – one is financial, obviously, and getting to live in LA is another. But the question has to be asked: does Mike Trout ever want to play in a World Series game?
At the moment he is a one-franchise man, having played for the Angels ever since his elevation to the senior ranks in 2011. And the terms of that new contract dictate that he will spend the rest of his career, more or less, on the West Coast.
But the history books tend to only remember those who win silverware and cash checks, and it’s unlikely that Trout will ever get to do that with the LA team. Just one look at the current baseball betting odds reveals that the Angels have a +5500 chance of winning the American League this season – an implied probability of just 1.8%. That’s 2019 over and done with, then.
You have to go back to 2002 to find the last time the outfit – then known as the Anaheim Angels, of course – won the AL and subsequent World Series, and so there’s one very big elephant in the room when discussing Trout’s future: does he need to trade away from the Los Angeles Angels?
If anyone out there can persuade the outfielder to leave West Coast living behind, they are sure to obtain a phenomenal talent as confirmed by his 2019 stats.
Trout went two for five against the Texas Rangers in one of his most recent outings, a performance which also included two home runs and four RBIs. He’s on course to record his best on-base percentage figure of his career, with his slugging percentage also reaching stratospheric new heights.
With the 27-year-old’s fielding stats also consistently high, there is a suggestion that Trout is entering his ‘peak’ – a terrifying thought given the standards he has already set. So where does he go from here?
Interviewed by Bill Shaikin for the LA Times last year, Trout said: “I want to get to the playoffs. That’s my mindset. I can’t predict the future.”
For the foreseeable future, it looks highly unlikely that the Angels will get anywhere near the frame for the play-offs. So this man with one of the highest Win Above Replacement (WAR) stats in history needs to find some teammates that can help him if he wants to achieve his dream.