Mike Trout’s career is definitive proof that no matter how singularly great a baseball player is, he cannot carry the other 24 schlubs on the roster to postseason glory. He can, however, spend four days making life miserable for an opposing team.
The Angels wrapped up a four-game series against the Rangers yesterday, taking three wins from the set. They owe those three wins to Trout, who had one of the best four-game stretches in baseball history:
Trout went 6-for-11 with five homers, nine RBI, and five runs scored. He managed to do all that damage despite getting relatively few opportunities to hit the ball; the Rangers generally pitched around Trout, walking him six times total and twice intentionally. There are a lot of things you can point to about Trout’s game and say, “That’s what makes him the best baseball player I’ve ever seen,” and one of them is the fact that he can turn a dozen or so hittable pitches over the course of a series into five homers. In the fourth inning of Saturday’s game, Trout came up with the bases loaded and showed what happens when the opposing pitcher has no other option than to try and get him out:
The annual tradition of wondering if Mike Trout is on his way to the greatest season in the history of baseball seems to start earlier every year, and with good reason. Trout is entering his age-27 season and coming off one in which his OPS reached a career-high of 1.088. This is the trajectory of a player who is about to truly enter his prime, which is a scary thought given that not-yet-in-his-prime Mike Trout is already the best player in the league by a wide, wide margin. What does his next step even look like? So far it looks like this: .393/.581/1.000, five homers, 11 walks, 12 RBI, 11 hits, three strikeouts.