Mike Trout was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with the 25th pick of the 2009 draft. In his first full season of professional baseball at 18 years old he managed to hit .341 and steal 56 bases. This dominance led Trout to be ranked the 2nd overall prospect before the 2011 season. He continued to mash minor league pitching in 2011 hitting .326 and earned a call to the big league club.
Trout’s first go around with the Major League team did not go so well. He hit only .220 with 5 home runs and 4 stolen bases. This showing forced the Angels to start the 3rd overall prospect in the minors for the 2012 season. He must have not been too discouraged from his trip to the majors because in 20 games at the triple A level he hit .403 and stole 6 bases. This got him another shot in the Major Leagues at 20 years old.
Trout had a historical rookie season this past year. He set all sorts of records and hit .326 with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases. He won the Rookie of the Year award in a unanimous victory and finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
With all the great he did in the 2012 season I think he will take a step back this year. I see Trout as more of a 20/45 guy who will hit around .290. This would still be a great season if he were able to do that but he wont live up to people’s now very high expectations. He is too fast to be a poor player but he won’t be the best player in the league.
The biggest thing that will regress is his power. The home runs were never there in the minors and I don’t see him hitting at a 35 home run per year pace. As I stated before 20 home runs sounds more like where he will level off. Pitchers will find his weaknesses, adjust, and give him problems. His speed alone will allow him to hit above .275 so his batting average will drop but it won’t be a huge change. His strike out rate also increased in the Majors. With even more adjustment from the pitchers it will continue to rise.
I believe Trout is a solid player and will have a long career in the Major Leagues, but it won’t be how many are projecting it right now. I believe he will have a career with Fred Lynn type stats just with more stolen bases but also more strikeouts. He will be a great player but no where near the level people are putting him at right now.