From 1989-2010, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the greatest to ever play in Major League Baseball. Griffey consistently made the difficult look routine as he would glide through the outfield to rob batters of hits, while he also possessed one of the sweetest swings in the history of the game which led to him blasting 630 career home runs. Baseball always has those phenoms who are a once in a generation talent, and this era’s Ken Griffey Jr. is Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Ever since Trout made his Major League Baseball debut in 2011, he has been nothing short of pure excitement. In 2012, only a Triple Crown campaign by Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera prevented Trout from being named as the American League MVP. In that year Trout would bat .326 with 30 homers and 49 stolen bases which was good enough for him to be named as the A.L.’s Rookie of the Year. Since that time Trout has been named as the A.L. MVP twice, while he is in the running for the honor once more this year, and at the same time he’s well on his way to rewriting the Angels franchise record books.
This season Trout is batting .316 with an on-base percentage of .450 to go along with 19 homers, 39 runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases. Trout’s exploits are keeping the Angels in playoff contention for their first postseason berth since 2014, while we cannot celebrate his talent on the field enough.
Already Trout’s 1,108 career hits are eighth on the franchise’s all-time list, while his 220 homers are third, and his 215 doubles are also eighth just to name a few of the categories that he is well on his way to rewriting. Trout is already the Angels all-time leader in Wins Above Replacement as his WAR is 59.7. And did I mention that Trout is only 26-years old.
The reason why I compare Trout to Griffey Jr. is that both of them got started in Major League Baseball in their late teens, and they never lost the youth in their heart of this kid’s game. Like Griffey Jr., Trout makes the spectacular look routine as his defensive range in center field is second to none among current MLB outfielders. Trout ‘s defensive ability is a delight to the Angels pitching staff as his range saves runs as he can shag fly balls destined for the gaps, while also turning triples into doubles, and doubles into singles with his speed to get to baseballs as well as his strong arm. Trout has also been known to put the Angels lineup on his back for lengthy periods of time, while his prowess on the base paths is something that shouldn’t be overlooked being that the stolen base is a lost art in baseball; as is the notion of a power hitter being able to steal at least 25 bags per campaign.
Trout is only 26, but his bust for Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame can already be produced. Barring injuries you’re looking at Trout having at least six more quality seasons under his belt as he has the makings of being a lifetime .300 hitter, while also blasting at least 400 home runs. Trout is one of baseball’s most recognizable players, and he’s never allowed the fame to get to him as you can never accuse him of giving less that 100% every time that he takes the field.
No matter how you slice it, sports in entertainment, and just like it was with Griffey Jr., there is no person who purchases a ticket to see Trout play that can say that they don’t get their money’s worth as he is an attraction all to himself. And like Griffey Jr. who received 99.3% of the votes on his first year on the ballot for Cooperstown which itself was a record, it will be darn near impossible to keep Mr. Trout out of those hallowed halls as well.