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    Mike Trout’s 2017 MVP Case

    By AngelsWin.com

    By @Brent Maguire, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer Mike Trout missed 39 games in the middle of this season due to a torn ligament in his thumb from sliding into 2nd base. At the time of the injury, it presumably knocked him out of the American League MVP picture, which seemed fair given the precedent set by previous MVP winners. Fangraphs very own Craig Edwards examined this exact precedent earlier this week and, based on his data, Trout would end up receiving the 2nd lowest amount of plate appearances for any MVP winner in baseball history(in a non-strike shortened season). Given the vast amount of data available now and, quite frankly, the integrity of the writers, the Trout MVP case isn’t as far fetched as some may believe. Right now, Mike Trout has the 4th highest fWAR(Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement) among all position players(5.1 fWAR) and ranks 3rd in the American League behind Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve, who both have 5.9 fWAR, respectively. WAR is not the be all end all stat but it does a good job of combining every element of a player’s game and Trout has somehow racked up 5.1 fWAR in just 70 games. For those curious, that would put him on pace for 11.8 WAR over a full 162 game season, which would rank as the 12th most valuable season in Major League Baseball history, and rank only behind some dudes named Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and Honus Wagner. Mike Trout has already has a historic start to his career, putting up 7.9 fWAR in his first 5 full big league seasons and 9+ WAR in 4 of those 5 seasons, but his 2017 season has been on a completely different level. If you’re not a WAR believer(cue chorus from ” War” by Edwin Starr), then let’s just break down the individual elements of Trout’s game. Offensively, Trout has been absolutely smashing baseballs and getting on base at will in his 70 games. His current slash line is .347/.468/.710, which essentially looks like an average Babe Ruth season(.342/.474/.690). If he qualified, Trout’s batting average would rank 3rd in baseball and he’d boast the highest on base percentage and slugging percentage in both leagues. Trout is walking a career high 17.7% of the time and is striking out in a career low 19% of his plate appearances. He’s on pace to hit 38 home runs, which would be the 2nd highest total in any season despite the fact that he missed a quarter of a season. Trout’s current 208 wRC+(108% better than the league average hitter) is far and away the best in baseball and well above his career 171 wRC+. If Trout maintains a 200+ wRC+, it’d be only the 5th time that has happened in this century and the other 4 instances were accomplished by Barry Bonds from 2001-2004. Defensively, Trout has more or less been slightly below average in center field this season based on the metrics. He’s currently at -1 defensive runs saved(DRS) and -2.3 UZR(Ultimate Zone Rating). Statcast has essentially backed up this claim as Trout has had zero 5 or 4 star catches but has caught a vast majority of his 1-3 star opportunities. This isn’t necessarily a knock on Trout either: performing as the league’s best hitter while playing near average defense in center field is uber valuable. On the bases, Trout has continued to run the bases with the best of them as he is on pace to swipe 20+ bags again and will end up with 3+ Baserunning Runs(BsR) despite missing 39 games. All around, Trout has been an absolute monster yet again. While it seems more likely that Trout doesn’t win MVP this year, there is a real case that he will be competing for a top 2 or 3 spot again in the race. If Jose Altuve hits .350+ with 7+ WAR on the best team in the American League, it’s going to be hard for the writers to pass that up. Aaron Judge is struggling since the break but he’s still on pace to hit 45+ home runs and post a 7+ win season while manning right field for the New York Yankees. Chris Sale is having a season of historic measures and may represent Trout’s biggest rival for the award as the terrifying lefty has already hit 7 fWAR and has a 2.57 ERA along with his sub 2 FIP. As of now, there’s a pretty clear top 4 and it looks like Trout will squarely be in the mix of things. Mike Trout might be one of the select few players in baseball who can miss 1/4th of a season and still be in the conversation for being the league’s most valuable player. Clayton Kershaw threw 149 innings of historic baseball last season and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting so we don’t have to look back too far to see how writers will penalize players who miss time. Kershaw’s 237 ERA+ and 15.64 strikeout-walk ratio were legendary numbers but they still weren’t enough to get him a top 3 finish. The writers could penalize Trout the same way but if this pace keeps up, it’s going to be impossible for the writers to ignore him. If the Angels somehow sneak into the playoffs, that will likely boost his case even further for the writers. Whatever ends up happening with the MVP voting, enjoy Mike Trout. The fact that we can even have this discussion speaks volumes to the incredible talent that Trout is. If he doesn’t win MVP, he’s still likely had a legendary season that was hurt by a fluke injury. If he does end up in fact win the award, then this is going to be a season that is talked about for a very long time. Long live Mike Trout.
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  1. IT-trainwreck

    By Glen McKee, Something or Other

    When I came back from camping last Sunday the Angels still had a chance at the second wild card spot in the AL.  Technically speaking, they still do, but yeah, I know.  It’s over.  Last week was the equivalent of driving down the road at 55 mph and then suddenly and simultaneously getting four flat tires. We shouldn’t be surprised, though.  The Angels jalopy has been driving all year behind a truck with a bed full of nails and for some strange reason, a fan blowing those nails onto the road.  It’s no surprise that this happened, it’s a surprise that the team made it this far.

    The bad.  Obviously, you start with the 1-5 record and work your way down from there.  Everything about the team was inconsistent but most of the time, the Angels were playing from a deficit even when the starters did well.  The Angels scored 18 runs in six games, making for some easy math to figure out they averaged a sad three runs per game.  They gave up 30 runs in those six games, making for more easy math: five runs per game.  The Angels had a -12 run differential last week during a crucial stretch.  Welp.

    Mike Trout – Trout continued his September to disremember, hitting .217 last week but showing some faint signs of a pulse yesterday.  He’s hitting .233 for September with two home runs.  Trout’s slump has been discussed enough on the board, so let’s move on.

    Yusmeiro Petit – Yusmeiro has been nails for us most of the year so it’s hard to get down on him.  He just ran out of gas last week, pitching in three games and losing two of them while posting a 20.25 ERA.  Yikes.  He still has a 2.64 ERA on the season, almost two runs below his career average.

    Eduardo Parades – This week he turned back into Eduardo Parades, giving up five runs in 2.1 innings over two appearances.  His ERA for the season is now 4.71.

    CJ Cron – Cron disappeared last week, hitting .158 but managing to hit a home run that nobody other than AO will remember.

    Andrelton Simmons – He was slightly better than Cron, hitting .182 last week.

    This list could go on and on, but it’s already giving me a sadgasm so let’s move on.

    Sadgasm

    The good.  What, there was good last week?  Of course there was!  Let’s look at the few things that pierced the funk that was last week.

    Justin Upton – He only hit .241 last week but he had four home runs and five RBI.  Those five RBI were more than 25% of the Angels runs scored last week.  He’s making a pitch to be the Angels LF again next year, even if he opts out.  Seven HR and an OPS of 1.021 in September.  I know, it’s a walk year of sorts and beware of stats put up in said years.  Just think about how many players have come to the Angels and tanked (not Tanked, which is going vegetarian).  He’s worth a shot for next year.

    Garrett Richards – You have no idea how happy it makes me see him make this list.  Six IP, zero ER against Houston.  An ERA of 1.76 and a WHIP of 0.72 for September.  My only regret about this season ending is that we won’t get to see more of him, but he’s giving us hope that next year we’ll have Ace Richards.

    Ricky Nolasco – Five IP, two ER is good for Nolasco.  He starts again today, which means he’ll get another start later this week just so we can see him one more time.  After that, it’s Godspeed, Ricky.  I’m sure you’ll sign with another team next year and have an ERA in the threes.

    Keynan Middleton –  This cat is interesting.  He has the stuff to be a closer and I think he’s worth sticking with.  3.1 IP last week, zero ER.

    Blake Parker – 2.1 IP, zero ER last week.  He has to be looked at a closer candidate for next year.

    Ben Revere – He seems to be thriving as a pinch-hitter, and who knows, perhaps he’d thrive with regular AB.  3-3 last week pinch-hitting.

    The rest.  Since being called back up on September 1, Carlos Perez has had three AB.  Huston Street is about ready to pitch off of a mound, or something, who cares.  Kaleb Cowart has gotten two more AB than Perez this month.  Somehow, Luis Valbuena has hit 21 HR this season while posting a .194 BA.

    The week ahead.  Do you really care?  I care, dammit!  This is the last Angels baseball we’ll see until spring training next year.  Four in Chicago against the White Sox and the season ends with three at home versus the Dipotos.

    Predictions.  Who gives a flying fart?  I do!  The Angels will give us some false hope, winning three in Chicago and moving us a bit closer to that second wild card spot, but then they’ll lose the first two against the Dipotos before ultimately winning the last game of the season.

    Next Monday.  The last LWIAB for the season.  I’ll try to go out in style, with all the stuff that was missing from this week’s edition.  I’ll try to make it worth your while to read it.  Until then, enjoy the last week of Angels baseball this year.


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  2. Mike_Trout_.png

    Michael Nelson "Mike" Trout (born August 7, 1991), nicknamed The Millville Meteor, is the center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball. Trout was the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014, is a four-time All-Star, and a two-time All-Star Game MVP since becoming a regular player in 2012 (More on that below from our Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels History).

    Trout was a first-round pick by the Angels in the 2009 MLB draft, and made a brief major league appearance in 2011. He became a regular player for the Angels the subsequent season, and unanimously won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award. Trout finished second in AL MVP voting in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In addition to being named Most Valuable Player in 2014, he won the 2014 AL Hank Aaron Award. Trout is under contract with the Angels until the end of the 2020 season.

    Trout's MLB performances have received praise from both the mainstream media and sabermetricians, and he is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball, as well as one of the best current players in all of MLB. Trout has led the major leagues in wins above replacement (WAR) during his first three full seasons in MLB (according to Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com) and was second to Bryce Harper in his fourth.

    Trout's combination of power and speed has drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame center fielder Mickey Mantle.[109] Trout has hit at least 27 home runs and 35 other extra base hits per season between 2012 and 2015, while also maintaining a high batting average and walk rate. He is particularly able to hit pitches that are low in the strike zone. Trout's speed has allowed him to be an above average defender in center field (according to ultimate zone rating) and he is also a proficient baserunner, stealing 113 bases between 2012 and 2015 at a success rate of 84 percent.

    In the four-year period since Trout became a regular player, he has been MLB's most productive batter, according to Fangraphs. Trout led all MLB players in total runs above average (park-adjusted wRAA) with 221.5 runs, and led all qualified players in productivity per plate appearance (wRC+), producing runs at a rate 71 percent above league average. Trout's exceptional performance at his young age has caused him to be compared to Ted Williams..

     

    Mike Trout featured in our AngelsWin.com's Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels History

    #9 - 2014, 2015: Mike Trout's MVP's

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    By Nate Trop - AngelsWin.com Staff Writer

    Starting with the day Mike Trout was drafted to all of his accolades in the minors to his dominance of MLB, Angels fans knew it was only a matter of time until he was the AL MVP.  In 2012 his first full season he put on a dynamic display of power, speed, and athleticism leading the league in stolen bases, runs, OPS+ and making catches in center field that no human should ever be capable of.  In 2013 he did more of the same, leading the league in walks and for the second year in a row, in runs scored, stepping up his OPS to .988 and OPS+ to 179.  Both years he finished second in MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera, who might be a statue in the field but offensively he was mashing the ball including the first triple crown in decades.  If you are a believer in WAR and sabermetrics, Mike Trout deserved the MVP both years but if you believe in the old school stats they favored Miguel Cabrera and it didn’t help that the Angels failed to make the playoffs both years.

    In 2014 it was a different story.  After hitting a single in his first at-bat of the 2012 All Star Game and a double in his first at-bat of the 2013 All Star Game, he hit a triple in his first at-bat of the 2014 All Star Game and ended up adding a double and a walk to go 2-3 with a run scored, two RBI and his first MVP, the all-star variety.  He wasn’t finished though leading the league in RBI and for the third straight year runs scored and WAR, slugging the Angels to the best record in baseball and his first playoff series.  The conversation was no longer about WAR vs old school, there was no doubt he would be the MVP and on November 13th 2014 it was announced that he was unanimously selected as the AL MVP, the sixth player ever to win both the ASG and league MVP in the same season and the fifth-youngest player ever to win the MVP.

    His first at-bat of the 2015 All Star Game was a home run to right field that few players in baseball could hit, finishing off the first at-bat of the ASG cycle.  He was the fourth player ever to lead off the ASG with a home run and he finished the game 1-3 with an RBI and two runs scored and became the first player ever to win back to back All Star Game MVPs.  Unfortunately the rest of 2015 ended with a familiar story, there was another catch and even though he lead the league in slugging, OPS and once again, WAR, the Angels missed the playoffs and Josh Donaldson had an equally impressive season playing for a playoff bound team, leaving Trout the MVP runner-up for the third time in four seasons.

    Some baseball writers and pundits would tell you that there is such a thing as “Trout Fatigue.” That he is so consistently good, and makes it look so easy, that baseball fans and experts take him for granted. I believe it to be true so to claim another MVP award on a team that quite frankly stunk would be a huge accomplishment. As the 2016 season wound down the usual conversation was going on, stop me if you have heard this before… Trout lead the league in WAR, runs, OPS+, OBP, second in OPS, and the list goes on, but he was on a team that was not ever close to the playoff race, and the young Mookie Betts of the hated Chowds seemed to be the favorite to win the award, he had an excellent season and he played for one of the best teams in baseball. Also in the conversation was Jose Altuve, a lovable short guy (seriously, who doesn’t love a short guy) that played for a team that just missed the playoffs and lead the league in average and hits while playing excellent defense. Fortunately, the Trout Fatigue was overcome and once again Mike Trout was rightfully recognized as the best player in the AL with his second MVP award.

    As Angels fans, it really is great to be able to watch the best player in baseball do his thing day in and day out..

     

    #19 - 2012: Trout's Rookie Season for the Ages

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    By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

    Of all the superlatives that can be lavished upon Mike Trout’s rookie season, perhaps the simplest and most appropriate is “unprecedented,” because no rookie in Major League history reached the statistical heights Trout achieved. For that matter, no second-, third- or even 20th-year player did so, either.

    And he did it all as a 20-year-old.

    .326/.399/.594, 129 runs, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB

    Trout led the American League in runs scored and stolen bases and finished second in batting average, despite starting the year at AAA Salt Lake and missing the first 20 Major League games. As for “unprecedented,” no player in Major League Baseball’s 141 years had ever surpassed 125 runs, 30 home runs and 45 stolen bases in the same season. Not one. Furthermore, he became the youngest player in history to record a 30 HR-30 SB season and the first rookie to combine 30 HR and 40 SB. Only two rookies scored more runs: Joe DiMaggio (132 in 1936) and Ted Williams (131 in 1939).

    He was named an American League All-Star, American League Rookie of the Year, won a Silver Slugger and finished second in the American League MVP balloting to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.

    And, oh, all of those gravity-defying catches…

    After making his celebrated, but far-from-polished big league debut as a 19-year-old in 2011 (batting just .220 and coming within a couple plate appearances of qualifying as a rookie), Trout was no sure bet to make the Angels 2012 roster out of spring training, especially not with an outfield/DH picture crowded by big contracts (Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells), big emergences (Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos) and big question marks (Kendrys Morales). When Trout missed almost all of the spring with an energy-sapping illness, his fate was sealed — he would start the season in the minors.

    While the “Millville Meteor” was batting .403/.467/.623 for the Bees, the Angels were woefully matching the franchise’s worst start (6-14) and falling nine games behind the Rangers for the division lead. In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Angels recalled Trout on April 28 with the team in Cleveland. He went 0-4 from the leadoff spot, but the Angels won, 2-1.

    With Trout setting the table, the Angels fortunes quickly turned. The team went 18-11 in May and climbed back to .500 for the first time since the season’s fourth game. Trout batted .324/.385/.556, but continued to fly under the radar of a baseball world that seemed preoccupied by Nationals rookie Bryce Harper. He was even better in June, posting a .372/.419/.531 line and helping the Angels to a 17-9 record in the month to pull within 4.5 games of the division-leading Rangers.

    It was what he did on June 27 in Baltimore, however, that finally made the baseball world truly sit up and take notice. With his family and friends watching at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Trout made an unbelievable leaping catch in center field to rob shortstop J.J. Hardy of a first-inning home run. The catch was replayed for weeks and when people started to look at what he was doing with his bat and on the bases, as well, the youngster was not only a lock for the All-Star game, but suddenly in the discussion for AL MVP.

    In July, Trout moved from “discussion” to “front runner,” posting an astounding .392/.455/.804 line. Comparisons to baseball’s immortals — DiMaggio, Williams, Mays, Mantle, even Ruth — became commonplace as statistical projections started to paint a picture of accomplishments matched only by the greatest of all-time — or no one in some cases.

    Though he “slumped” to .287/.383/.500 from Aug. 1 on, and the Angels were ultimately unable to keep up with the Rangers and surprise division-winning Athletics, Trout made three more remarkable HR-robbing catches and sold more merchandise in the Angels team store than Pujols and all of his teammates combined.

    At 10.7, he led the Major Leagues in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), a “new-age” unit of measure that combines all conceivable statistical information — offense, defense and base running — into the number of victories a player is worth over a league-average alternative. Only three players in history posted a higher WAR before the age of 25: Ruth (11.6 in 1920), Gehrig (11.5 in 1927) and Mantle (11.1 in 1957 and 11.0 in 1956). His season ranks 20th all-time and every player ahead of Trout (Ruth, Hornsby, Yastrzemski, Bonds*, Gehrig, Ripken, Wagner, Cobb, Mantle, Mays, Morgan, Musial and Williams) is in the Hall of Fame.

    For Angels fans, it was a rookie campaign for the ages, only the franchise’s second ROY (Salmon, 1993) and left just one question: What will he do for an encore?

    A running list of Mike Trout's accomplishments

    All-Star Futures Game selection (2010)
    American League Most Valuable Player (2014)
    3× American League Player of the Month (Jul. 2012, Jun. 2014, Jul. 2015)
    3× American League Player of the Week (Jun. 11, 2012; Jul. 13, 2014; Jul, 12, 2015)
    4× American League Rookie of the Month (May–August 2012)[50]
    American League Rookie of the Year (2012)
    2× Baseball America Major League Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
    2× Baseball America Minor League Baseball All-Star Team selection (2010, 2011)
    Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (2011)
    3× Baseball America Top 100 prospect (2010–12)
    ESPY Award for Best Major League Baseball Player (2015)
    Fielding Bible Award at center field (2012)
    GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Hitter of the Year (2014)
    GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Rookie of the Year (2012)
    Hank Aaron Award (2014)
    Heart & Hustle Award (2012)
    J. G. Taylor Spink Award (2010)[23]
    4× Major League Baseball All-Star Game selection (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
    2× Major League Baseball All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (2014, 2015)
    MLB.com Top 100 prospect (2012)
    Players Choice Award for American League Outstanding Player (2014)
    Players Choice Award for American League Outstanding Rookie (2012)
    4× Silver Slugger Award at outfield (2012–15)
    Sporting News Rookie of the Year (2012)
    Topps Minor League Baseball All-Star (2010)
    USA Today Minor League Player of the Year (2011)
    Wilson American League Defensive Player of the Year (2012)

    Mike Trout Highlight Video clipsK BELOW TO LISTEN TO A FISH LIKE THIS

     

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