The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are an underwhelming eight games under .500. This team had high expectations placed on them in 2013 and they have done nothing but falter.
The Angels have a lot of problems, but Mike Trout is not one of them.
He was the talk of the baseball world as a freshman in 2012. His rookie season was one to remember and definitely one of the greatest ever. The man just may have been the third player to win the American League MVP as a rookie if not for Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers winning the Triple Crown.
Yet his 2013 is arguably better than his 2012. Trout once again leads the American League in runs scored at 95, tied with Cabrera and Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. His OPS+ is 183, compared to his 168 last year. He is coming up on eclipsing his total games played and at bats from last year in a very short period of time. He has shown great speed, with an AL leading 9 triples in 2013 and he may not be done.
Don’t forget WAR loves this man. His 8.2 WAR is the best in all of baseball. The second highest WAR in the league this year belongs to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His WAR is 7.2.
It’s all a matter of what the MVP means to someone. Some think it should go to the best player no matter what. Despite Cabrera and Davis ripping pitchers a new one this year, it would be very hard not to have Trout in the discussion as the AL’s best player.
Despite Trout’s 2013 being better than his 2012 statistically speaking, there are those who have the mentality that the MVP should go to somebody on a playoff team, and unless the Angels have the most amazing month in history and the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers completely blow a gasket, Trout will have to wait until at least 2014 to get a taste of postseason baseball.
It looks like Cabrera could win at least two legs of the Triple Crown. Both his .358 batting average and 130 RBI lead all of baseball. When this man gets hot, he gets hot. He has 43 home runs and has missed a little bit of action this season, but yet has still managed to embarrass opposing teams.
Davis has something to say about the AL MVP race himself. His 47 home runs are good for the best in the league. It looks like he could break Brady Anderson’s franchise record of 50 home runs by an Oriole, which Anderson set in 1996.
Right or wrong, if there is one thing Cabrera and Davis both have on Trout, it’s the record of the teams they play on. The Tigers look to be running away with the AL Central at 81-57 and with how capable their bats are of putting on a show, they very easily could wind up in the World Series for a second straight year.
The Orioles are 73-63 and in good shape, but would fall short of a playoff berth if the season were to end today. So out of the three, only Cabrera’s team would be in the playoffs, largely thanks to Cabrera himself.
I cannot help but think of a hypothetical where Trout was playing for a playoff contender like say the Rangers or Tampa Bay Rays and put up the exact same numbers. That would be one crazy three-way race for an MVP. As much as Trout belongs in the discussion, I cannot realistically see him winning the award with the competition he is up against. It looks like it’s Cabrera’s to lose.
Hopefully, however, baseball fans are still able to appreciate the special player Trout has been yet again in 2013 and he has averted the so-called sophomore slump in convincing fashion.