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Entries in Mike Trout (16)

Friday
Jun212013

Mike Trout Adjusted, Again

There are a contingent of Angels' fans who believe that Mike Trout is not human. That he gets his powers from our yellow sun, and should have been fitted for his first cape a long time ago.

Some of us knew this when he was tearing apart A-Ball at the age of 18 to the tune of a .341/.428/.490 slash line. He was so good then, that my friend drafted him in his Fantasy Keeper Leaegue.

At 18. In A-Ball. That's ludicrous.

Others needed to be reassured of his coming greatness and waited until he tore up the Texas League in AA with a .326/.414/.544 slash line. More power in a league where he was three years younger than the average player in that league, and one of the five youngest players in the league to boot. And for those of you who are unaware, a .544 slugging while playing most of your games at Dickey Stephens Park, is no small shakes. That stadium is death to hitters.

Still, some were not convinced. He was still a prospect. Do you know who else was a highly touted prospect? 

Brien Taylor.

Brien Taylor was the first overall selection in the 1991 First Year Player Draft. Brien Taylor signed for $1.55 million, besting Todd Van Poppel's record bonus in 1990. In 1992, Brien Taylor was ranked the number one prospect in all of baseball. Ahead of nobody's like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. In 1993, Brien Taylor tore his labrum in fight in a mobile home. By 1999 he was out of baseball, and in 2012 he was sentenced to 38 months in prison for narcotics trafficking. He never appeared in a major league game.

Back to Mike Trout.

Trout earned himself a cup of coffee in 2011, and was rather uninspiring, hitting .220/.281/.390. So, going into the 2012 season, the Angels did what they thought was best and started him in AAA, effectively spotting the rest of the league a month to get out in front of the greatness that was to come. 

"What greatness is that?" You ask. "Were you not alive last year?" I ask.

125 runs. 45+ stolen bases. 30 home runs. A batting average of .325 or better. 85+ RBI.

Those numbers had never before been combined in a season until Mike Trout did it last year. His 10.7 bWAR (Baseball-Reference WAR) was the highest ever for an age-20 season, and the highest since some guy named Barry Bonds had a bWAR of 10.6 in 2004. It was the greatest rookie season ever.

But there was still a hole in Trout's game, and that was on pitches in and under his hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pitcher's tried to expose this hole in Trout's swing, but Mikey (Don't worry, he's OK with me calling him that) is so patient that he laid off of most of them, not allowing them to lower his production.

Mike Trout is also very good at making adjustments. And not just on a month to month, or week to week, or even day to day basis. But, from at bat to at bat.

How good is Mike Trout at making adjustments?

Well... 

SplitOPS
vs. SP, 1st .860
vs. SP, 2nd 1.042
vs. SP, 3rd 1.198
vs. SP, 4th+ 1.244
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.

 

That would be Trout's OPS for each at bat against a starting pitcher. I would get more into the detials of this, but Halos Heaven already has the goods on this subject (Part 1 and Part 2).

So how does The Chosen One Mike Trout handle this hole in his game?

He adjusts.

And adjust he did

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hole. Closed.

On belt-high pitches in and off the plate last year, Trout slugged a meager .200. Bronson Arroyo's SLG% last season was .206. Essentially, Mike Trout was Bronson Arroyo on pitches belt-high and in off the plate. At no time should a person ever want to hit like Bronson Arroyo. 

This year, Mike Trout is slugging .842 on those same pitches. in 1921, Babe Ruth slugged .846. Essentially, Mike Trout has been Babe Ruth on pitches belt-high and in off the plate this season. You should always want to be like Babe Ruth. Except of course when you are out to eat, or at a social function, or...

On a baseball diamond, you should always want to be like Ruth on a baseball diamond.

On Thursday, Trout added another feather in his cap in a game against the Detroit Tigers. Mike Trout went and had himself a four-hit game, which doesn't seem all that exciting, until you actually research four-hit games. Only two other players over the last two season's have had as many four-hit games as Trout does (8), and those two players are Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen

ESPN Stats and Info tweeted this yesterday about how Mike Trout needs only one more four-hit game before his 22nd birthday to tie Al Kaline's record of nine before turning 22.

Peter Gammons tweeted this, giving a hat tip to Angels beat reporter Alden Gonzalez about Trout's numbers through 79 games last year compared to this year.

 

 

Mike Trout was expected to regress this year

If he has regressed, it's been marginal.

In other words, the moral to this story is: Kids, when you grow up, don't be like Brien Taylor. Be like Mike Trout. 

Monday
Mar112013

Leading off for Cincy, Shin-Soo Choo

Last season, National League leadoff batters hit .257, led by the Colorado Rockies at .279

Last season, National League leadoff batters scored  1528 runs, that's an average of 95.5 runs per leadoff batter. The Giants leadoff batters scored 120 runs.

Last season, no National League team leadoff batters hit lower than the Cincinnati Reds at .208.

Last season, the Marlins leadoff batters scored a league low 80 runs.

But frequently you are judged by the company you keep - the Reds scored 83 runs, the same as the Pirates and the Astros. That's not good company for the Reds.

Here are last year's leadoff batters for the Reds: 

Now leading off for the Reds, Shin-Soo Choo.

On December 11, 2012: Choo was part of a 3-team trade as he went from the Cleveland Indians with Jason Donald and cash to the Cincinnati Reds. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Matt Albers, top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw to the Cleveland Indians. The Cincinnati Reds sent 23-year old shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Drew Stubbs to the Indians. The Cleveland Indians sent Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp to the Diamondbacks.

For the Reds this was all about acquiring about Choo and his .373 OBP as their leadoff batter. To be successful, it is critical that Choo reduces his 21.9% strikeout rate (the same as Alex Rodriguez) and maintaining his 10.6% walk rate (Mike Trout's rate was 10.5%).

Choo hit .283 last season, decent but his .353 BAbip was inordinately high for those results. Last season, David Freese hit .293 with a .352 BAbip and Carlos Gonzalez hit .303 also with a .352 BAbip.

Over the last five seasons, Choo has averaged 3.98 pitches per plate appearances and last season it was 4.09 (Trout's was 4.08).

Last season, Choo hit 16 homers and yesterday he hit his first home run as a Red. But while the 15-20 homers that he is capable of hitting is a bonus, he has one GOB (an acronym pronounced: JOB).

And that GOB acronym is simple: with Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick , Jay Bruce, and Zack Cozart hitting behind him, as Choo adjusts to playing centerfield, for the Reds to suceed, Choo just needs to Get On Base.


Friday
Jan252013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Ryan Braun

"Who should be the first pick in fantasy baseball drafts?"

There are three primary candidates for you to consider: Mike Trout, Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera. We've already looked at the player profile on Mike Trout.  

 

Now, let's look at Ryan Braun's numbers

Year

LVL

AGE

AB

HR

R

RBI

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

BABIP

FB%

GB%

LD%

2007

MLB

23

451

34

91

97

15

5

.324

.370

.634

.361

34.3%

40.7%

17.2%

2008

MLB

24

611

37

92

106

14

4

.285

.335

.553

.305

36.3%

39.0%

15.1%

2009

MLB

25

635

32

113

114

20

6

.320

.386

.551

.353

22.6%

47.6%

20.7%

2010

MLB

26

619

25

101

103

14

3

.304

.365

.501

.331

24.0%

48.7%

19.0%

2011

MLB

27

563

33

109

111

33

6

.332

.397

.597

.350

28.8%

42.9%

21.8%

2012

MLB

28

598

41

108

112

30

7

.319

.391

.595

.346

31.0%

44.4%

18.2%

 

Pros:

Miller Park, NL Central; power to all fields; durable; consistent

 

Cons:

Limited 30+ steal track record; Rickie Weeks; limited ceiling; Astros move to AL; inflated HR/FB rate

 

Analysis:

Last year I stayed away from Braun in all my drafts because of an irrational fear he would regress due to his potential PED 50-game suspension and the loss of Prince Fielder to the Tigers. I believed he would be walked more and see fewer pitches to hit because he wouldn’t have protection in the lineup. It turned out he put up better numbers than he did during his MVP season in 2011.

 

Then there is his strikeout rate, which was the highest it’s been since 2008 (18.9%). If this trend continues his batting average ceiling could be in the low .300s instead of the .320s.

 

Braun has just turned 29, which may impact on his stolen base potential. Instead of grabbing 30 bags, he may only steal bases in the low 20s.

 

Braun had a career high in home runs with 41, but the home run spike coincided with a career high in his HR/FB rate (22.8%). His average HR/FB rate for his career is 18.8%, so if he regresses back to his average he’ll be a 30-34 home player instead of a 41 homer player. But to be a contrarian, he plays in in Miller Park, the third best home run park for right-handed hitters, so it’s possible he can sustain the home run power he displayed last year.

 

Finally, also consider the move of the Houston Astros to the AL West. The Astros roster looks like a bad Triple-A team and he won't have the opportunity this season to play 16 games against a team that he hit .355 with four homers and 13 RBI last season.