Mike Trout is something amazing. Supposedly he is from New Jersey, but that seems like a likely cover for someone not from this planet. He has broken every ceiling placed on young players in 2012. Draft picks need so many at bats and reps in the field in the minors—and Mike Trout had been playing minor league ball since 2009, but he started his career on fire. In the rare moments this season where he wasn’t hotter than a grease fire during Spring Training, he was ONLY on an All Star pace.
Runs–129 (1st) / Avg.–.326 (4th) / Stolen Bases–49 (1st)
WAR–10.7 (1st) / Adj. OPS+–171 (2nd) / HR– 30 (T-22nd)
Much has been made by the Sabermetricians about Mike Trout’s WAR and other stats, which demonstrate he is the sure fire MVP. Trout’s WAR was over 10. No one has been over 10 since Barry Bonds (multiple times) Sammy Sosa and A-Rod all in the early 2000s. Not since 1991 had anyone accomplished it pre steroids, and that was Cal Ripken Jr. WAR measures not just how all of his stats measure up to the rest of the league, but what they literally mean to his team—in how many wins. To me, 10 wins doesn’t seem like that many, but it takes a 25 man roster to get the job done so it must be.
He may not be a Triple Crown winner, but Mike Trout is the best player in the American League. If you look closely that is a period.
In a slow paced methodical game, Trout is a high-light reel on every play. Nevermind Hall of Famer and teammate Albert Pujols, nor the effortless 5 tool Josh Hamilton, nor Miguel Cabrera wearing his Triple Crown, or Justin Verlander pitching every 5th day looking for a 2nd Cy Young. Did someone mention Robinson Cano? The stocky but lightning quick Mike Trout is the best player in the American League.
Trout was introduced officially to the bigs this season on April 28th, meaning he only played in 139 games. Amongst all of the plot lines that the Angels had ongoing in 2012, Trout was so impressive he was always the top storyline. Before the season Pujols garnered plenty of headlines, and his struggles early on appeared weekly on PTI. The bullpens tremendous struggles were a storyline. The big time move to acquire ace Zach Greinke to bolster the rotation. The 20 game winner and possible Cy Young winner storyline of Jered Weaver. Trout’s dominance ALWAYS amazed and plays like this trumped any other news worthy things happening around the Angel clubhouse.
Here’s the bad news though. Despite Trout’s brilliance the Angels ratings on TV and draw in the ballpark were lackluster. They were 7th in the majors in average home attendance with 37,799 fans, but that was only 83% capacity in Anaheim. That puts the Angels at the back of the top teams, or flush in the middle. The worse news for the Angels is that they were in the bottom 5 in the league in average local TV ratings with a 1.12 share. Not only is that down from last year, but that number the Angels chalked up is worse than the Padres.
So as good as Trout is, how much national attention he drew, and his possible if not likely MVP status, he did very little to affect how the local population interacts with the LA/Orange County team.
What only matters in LA is winning, as my dusty Rally Monkeys but polished Stanley Cup replicas would prove. With Mike Trout though, the chances for the Angels winning is even higher than his WAR. But until the Angels come through and prove the experts who picked them to win the Series right, they will have mediocre support.
The Angels will never be LA, and in this market they will always be secondary or tertiary interest to the general population and Latino population. Provided you are not in Angels management, that’s the way you want it. But Trout was so impressive in 2012, and his upside is still so great, he is always in the conversation as the best player in the LA, if not the most important.
Today, Congrats Prince Fish, you are the 15th most important person in sports in LA today.