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  1. Mike TroutLos Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout dives for a fly ball against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer

    Today the Los Angeles Angels announced they have signed SS Zack Cozart to a 3 year, $38M contract.

    Now, of course, the Angels will not use Cozart at SS because they have an even better defensive player at the position in Andrelton Simmons (and this is saying a lot because Zack plays elite level defense at SS). Instead Zack will be taking his talents to the hot corner where he will join Andrelton and Ian in what can only be described as a defensive black hole where baseballs go to die.

    Eppler has certainly held true to his words about trying to fill every position around the diamond with above average defensive players. Barring Pujols he has essentially reached this goal with the additions of Upton, Kinsler, and now Cozart.

    If you are a casual fan you may not be seeing the full value in the acquisitions Billy has made this off-season and how it contributes to our increased odds of success in 2018.

    Pictures speak a thousand words and videos speak ten thousand so let us take a little walk down memory lane to better illustrate how truly sick the Los Angeles Angels defense will be next season (note there are offensive highlights mixed into some of these videos):

    Mike Trout

    Andrelton Simmons

    Martin Maldonado

    Ian Kinsler

    Zack Cozart

    Link to MLB highlights, here.

    Justin Upton

    Kole Calhoun

    It cannot be stressed enough how special team defense will be in 2018.

    Yes the Angels have improved their lineup as well and that should be a more productive unit, one through nine in the order, but this is perhaps the finest defensive team in baseball heading into 2018 and beyond. It will be a real treat to watch!


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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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