Mike Trout Avoiding the Sophomore Slump


When Major League Baseball has a young player like Mike Trout emerge, the biggest question everyone asks is “are they a one and done” after a great year? For Trout, the answer has been a clear cut no as he’s having a tremendous year even with the Los Angeles Angels falling below everyone’s expectations.

While Trout may not be tightly contested with Miguel Cabrera for this year’s American League Most Valuable Player Award like in 2012, he’s still having a season to remember.

Mike Trout has truly started to become a one of a kind player for the Angels. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, Trout once again leads the Angels in every offensive category except for his teammate Mark Trumbo who leads in home runs with 26. Trout is hitting an astounding .330/.427/.574 which is not only the best on the team, but one of the best in baseball, just behind Cabrera and Chris Johnson. Not to mention, Trout has a WAR (wins above replacement) of 6.7, which is 0.2 above Cabrera, who looks like he might run away with the MVP this season. However, if Trout continues the same solid and consistent production, we may have another race for the ages.

Looking at Trout’s stats this season, he’s played in 119 games and will more than likely pass 2012’s 139. In those games remaining, Trout is on pace to surpass nearly every category from RBIs to hits to run scored. The one big thing for Trout is in 2012 he struck out 21.8 percent of the time whereas in 2013, that percentage has decreased to 17.1, while his walks have gone up from 10.5 to 13.4 percent. Patience is a virtue for the 22 year-old and he’s easily becoming one of the MLB’s most feared hitters, leading to his increasing on-base percentage of .427.

It’s no surprise that Trout is avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump a season after winning AL Rookie of the Year. Many analysts thought Trout wouldn’t be able to top his performance in 2012, but clearly 2013 has been just as good, if not a little bit better. Sure, there are categories that are little under from last year like stolen bases, BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and wRC (runs created), but only minimally.

Unfortunately for his National League counter part in Bryce Harper, who won 2012’s NL Rookie of the Year, the same can’t be said. It’s not that Harper is necessarily in a “sophomore slump”, but he’s definitely not having the season that many thought he would. Granted, Harper can’t really be blamed for that as he was on the disabled list for a substantial amount of time this season and he has seen positive decreases in areas like strikeouts (20.1 percent to 18.8), but then again he’s only played in 81 games.

There’s definitely a connection between the two young superstars as their major league ceilings are ever-expanding. Trout however is what most people called a “phenom” in the 2012 season and whether that was due to his production at the plate, or his spectacular catches in the outfield, he’s definitely one of baseball’s brightest stars.

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.