Michael Nelson Trout (born August 7, 1991), nicknamed The Millville Meteor, is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball (MLB). Trout was the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014, is a five-time All-Star, and a two-time All-Star Game MVP since becoming a regular player in 2012.
Trout was a first-round pick by the Angels in the 2009 MLB draft, and made a brief major league appearance in 2011. He became a regular player for the Angels the subsequent season, and unanimously won the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award. Trout finished second in AL MVP voting in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In addition to being named Most Valuable Player in 2014, he won the 2014 AL Hank Aaron Award. Trout is under contract with the Angels until the end of the 2020 season.
Trout's MLB performances have received praise from both the mainstream media and sabermetricians, and he is regarded as one of the most outstanding young players in the history of baseball, as well as one of the best current players in all of MLB. Trout has led the major leagues in wins above replacement (WAR) during his first three full seasons in MLB (according to Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com) and was second to Bryce Harper in his fourth.
Born in Vineland, New Jersey, to Jeff and Debbie Trout, he has two older siblings, sister Teal and brother Tyler. His father, Jeff (born January 7, 1961), played baseball at the University of Delaware and was a fifth-round draft pick as a second baseman by the Minnesota Twins in 1983. Jeff played four years of minor league baseball before a torn plantar fascia and knee injuries ended his career.
Trout began playing baseball in Little League. His main position as a little leaguer was the shortstop position. He wore #2 in honor of his childhood hero, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. He would switch to #1 in high school. Mike attended Lakeside Middle School and is a 2009 graduate of Millville Senior High School.
Trout attended Millville Senior High School in Millville, New Jersey where he played both baseball and basketball, earning five letters (three in baseball and two in basketball). In his junior year, he threw a no-hitter against Egg Harbor Township High School. The Thunderbolts made it to the state playoffs and were defeated by Cherry Hill High School East. He started as a pitcher and shortstop, and was shifted to the outfield during his senior year. That year, he hit 18 home runs, a New Jersey high school record. Trout had committed to play baseball at East Carolina University prior to the 2009 MLB Draft. Millville initially planned to retire Trout's jersey number, but instead began awarding it to the team captain, starting in 2012.
Trout played travel ball with Tri-State Arsenal, one of the premier travel programs in the Northeast. He began working with the coaches at Arsenal at age 14. Trout played in various tournaments with Tri-State Arsenal, including the Perfect Game WWBA Championships in Jupiter, Florida in 2007 and 2008.
In the summer before his senior year, Trout attended the Area Code Games in southern California, where he went 6-for-11 against some of the best players in the country. Angels scout Greg Morhardt, who had played in the minor leagues with Trout's father, claimed Mike was the fastest and strongest 17-year-old he had ever seen.
Draft and minors
He started his professional career in 2009 playing for the Arizona Angels of the rookie-level Arizona League, hitting .360 with a .418 OBP and .506 SLG with one home run, 25 runs batted in (RBIs), and 13 stolen bases in 187 plate appearances over 39 games. He was beaten out in being named AZL Most Valuable Player by Cody Decker. He finished the season playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Class A Midwest League, hitting .267 over 20 plate appearances in five games.
Before the 2010 season, Trout was considered the Angels' third-best prospect and the 85th-best in all of baseball by Baseball America. He started the season playing for Cedar Rapids, where he hit .362 with a .454 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .526 slugging percentage (SLG) with six home runs, 39 RBIs, and 45 stolen bases in 82 games. He was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game. In July, Baseball America named Trout the second-best overall baseball prospect. After the Futures game, he was promoted to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the Class A-Advanced California League.
After the 2010 season, Trout was named 2010 J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. At just 19 years and two months, he was the youngest player to win this award. He was also named a Baseball America All-Star as well as a Topps Class A All-Star.
Prior to the 2011 season, Trout was ranked number one by ESPN's Keith Law in his 2011 top 100 prospects list and by MLB's Jonathan Mayo. Trout started the 2011 season with the Arkansas Travelers of the Class AA Texas League. He hit .324 with nine home runs, 27 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in his first 75 games.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim promoted Trout on July 8, 2011, to replace the injured Peter Bourjos in center field. He made his major league debut that night, going 0-for-3. In his next game, Trout recorded his first career major league hit, an infield single against Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda in the bottom of the third inning. He hit his first major league home run against Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mark Worrell on July 24. Trout was sent back to Double-A Arkansas on August 1, 2011 after hitting .163 with one home run and six runs batted in 12 starts for the Angels.
After spending time back in Double-A Arkansas, Trout was recalled by the Angels on August 19, 2011. That night, he went 1-for-4 with a home run, his first at Angel Stadium. On August 30, Trout became the youngest Angel to hit two home runs in one game, homering off of Mariners pitcher Anthony Vazquez in the top of the second inning and again in the top of the fourth inning. In his 40-game rookie big league stint in 2011, Trout's batting average was .220, while his on-base percentage was .281 and his slugging percentage .390.
For the 2011 season, of the 13 votes cast for the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award, Trout received the 2 votes allocated to the fan poll. He was named Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .326/.414/.544 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, 82 runs scored and 33 stolen bases in 91 games. He was again named an outfielder on Baseball America's 2011 Minor League All Star team.
American League Rookie of the Year (2012)
Trout began the 2012 season with the Salt Lake Bees of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. On April 28, he was again brought up from the minors, this time to replace Bobby Abreu (who was batting .208 in 24 at-bats). At that time, Trout had a .403 batting average, a .467 on-base percentage, and a .623 slugging percentage in 20 games with Salt Lake.
Trout recorded his first career four-hit game on June 4, and 15 days later Trout had his second career four-hit game. In the process, he scored all four times and two of his four hits went for doubles. Trout, along with Angels right fielder Torii Hunter, was named American League co-Player of the Week from June 4–10. During that stretch, Trout went 13-for-25 for a .520 batting average to go along with 10 runs scored and four stolen bases. On June 27 against the Baltimore Orioles, Trout had his third career 4-hit game in the same month. In the same game, he showed off his defensive skills when he robbed Orioles shortstop J. J. Hardy of a home run as he leaped up in the center field wall to make a spectacular catch in the bottom of the first inning.
Trout broke both an Angels' franchise and American League rookie record when he crossed home plate in 14 consecutive games after scoring a run in a game on July 22. Trout's 26 stolen bases tied Jerry Remy for the team's rookie record for most stolen bases by the All-Star Break. Playing in his first All-Star Game, Trout singled off of New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey in the bottom of the 6th inning and drew a base on balls against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the 7th. In the month of June, Trout batted .372 with three home runs and 16 RBI and was named AL Player of the Month and AL Rookie of the Month. Angels manager Mike Scioscia explained Trout's impact by saying, "It's a pleasant surprise only with the fact that you see very few guys come up and do this much. Is it surprising that Mike Trout's talent is able to produce what's happening on the field? No, that's not a surprise. He's an extraordinary talent." Trout's 34 runs scored in July tied the Major League rookie record with Cleveland Indians first baseman Hal Trosky in 1934. He had a .392 batting average, 10 home runs, and 23 runs batted in. In addition, Trout continued to show his speed by stealing nine bases and scoring 32 runs in July. Trout also became the first rookie to drive in at least 55 runs and score 80 runs in 81 games since Joe DiMaggio in 1936."
Against the White Sox on August 4, Trout made another highlight catch, robbing second baseman Gordon Beckham of a home run in the second inning. White Sox catcher A. J. Pierzynski told reporters after the game that Trout "makes those catches in the outfield look so good.".
On August 21, Trout went 2-for-4 in a victory over the Red Sox, raising his batting average to .344. With the .344 average, Trout set the rookie record for batting average through 100 games. Trout finished the month of August with a .284 batting average, seven home runs, 19 runs batted in, 11 stolen bases, and an .866 OPS. Trout was again named AL Rookie of the Month for August, his fourth time winning the honor. In winning the award for the fourth time, Trout became the first American League rookie since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 to win Rookie of the Month four times during a single season.
Trout became the youngest player ever to hit at least 20 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in a season. Houston Astros center fielder César Cedeño had been the youngest player to accomplish the feat, doing so in 1972. He also became the youngest hitter ever to hit at least 20 home runs and steal at least 30 bases in a season. Trout scored his 100th run of the season on August 26, becoming the second Angels rookie to score at least 100 runs in a season after Devon White. Trout set a new Angels record for runs scored in a rookie season, passing White. Trout scored three runs that day, the tenth time in the 2012 season where he scored three or more runs in one game, the most since Sammy Sosa's 11 games in 2001.
On September 9, in a game against the Detroit Tigers, Trout became the first player in baseball history under the age of 22 to hit a leadoff home run in back-to-back games. On September 21, Trout became the first rookie to score 120 or more runs since Ichiro Suzuki and the fourth rookie to accomplish that feat since 1964. On September 30, Trout became the youngest player in Major League Baseball history to join the 30–30 club when he belted a 7th-inning home run off of Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, helping the Angels win the game by a score of 5–4.
Trout became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in one season. Trout set the Angels' club record for most runs scored in a season, surpassing Vladimir Guerrero. He also set the Angels rookie record for most hits in a season with 173, passing Wally Joyner. Trout became the first rookie ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season. In addition, Trout finished second in the AL in batting average (.326), third in slugging percentage (.564), third in on-base percentage (.399), second in OPS (.963), 9th in hits (182), and first in OPS+ (171). He became the first Angels player to lead the league in stolen bases since Chone Figgins did so in 2005 with 49 stolen bases. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Trout finished with a wins above replacement (WAR) value of 10.9, 2.4 better than second-place finisher Robinson Canó of the Yankees. Trout was the first position player to have a WAR above 10.0 since Barry Bonds for the San Francisco Giants in 2004.
Trout led the Angels in batting average, runs scored, hits (182), triples, stolen bases, total bases (315), base on balls, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging despite playing in just 139 games. He was tied with Pujols for second place on the team in home runs behind Mark Trumbo and was fourth in runs batted in.
On November 12, 2012 Trout won the BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, receiving 28 of 28 first place votes, becoming the first Angels player to win the award since Tim Salmon won it in 1993 and the youngest player to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Trout became just the 18th Rookie of the Year winner to win the award unanimously. On November 13, Trout won the Heart and Hustle Award, given to the player who "demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game." Trout was one of three outfielders in the American League to win the Silver Slugger for being the best offensive players at their position; the others were then-Ranger Josh Hamilton and Josh Willingham of the Minnesota Twins. He also won a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding center fielder in MLB.
Trout's high WAR value led many to support his candidacy for American League Most Valuable Player. Trout's main competition for the award was Miguel Cabrera, who became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the triple crown by leading the AL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. The race between Trout and Cabrera created controversy amongst baseball fans and writers, and was described by many as a clash between new-age sabermetrics and supporters of more "traditional" statistics. In supporting Trout's case, Jayson Stark wrote, "We just understand that Trout's insane 10.5 WAR are one more clear indication that he's a better baseball player than even one of the greatest hitters of our lifetimes. ... If you want to toss in his slash line, his 62 extra-base hits, his 92.3 percent stolen-base success rate or any other item on his stat sheet, you'll find that no player in the history of baseball has combined this much excellence in so many areas in the same season." Meanwhile, Scott Miller of CBS Sports wrote, "Nobody combined overall statistics, badass lineup presence and value to his team more than Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera." On November 15, Cabrera won the MVP decisively, winning twenty-two of twenty-eight first place votes to Trout's six.
Trout began the 2013 season as a left fielder, in order to accommodate for Peter Bourjos in center field. Trout started the 2013 season slowly, hitting .261 with 2 home runs and 16 RBIs in April. During a game on April 20 against the Detroit Tigers, Trout hit his first career grand slam off pitcher Rick Porcello, capping a 10-run inning for the Angels, their highest-scoring inning in almost 18 years.
On April 30, Bourjos injured his hamstring, and Trout was moved back to center field. In May, Trout regained his rookie-year form, batting .327 with 8 home runs, 21 RBIs, and 27 runs scored. Trout stated that he had struggled early in the season because he was chasing pitches out of the strike zone and pressing too much on himself. On May 21, 2013 Trout became the youngest player to hit for the cycle in American League history and sixth youngest in Major League history, doing so at home against the Seattle Mariners. On May 30, Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced that Trout would return to left field after Bourjos returned from the disabled list. This decision caused some controversy, as some believed that Trout's successful May was a direct result of his move back to center field. Scioscia, however, believed that Trout's numbers as a center fielder had to do with his batting-order position and hype subsiding.
On June 8, with shortstop Erick Aybar struggling at the leadoff spot, Trout began batting leadoff, marking his first time hitting in the leadoff spot since April 14. In his first game batting leadoff since mid-April, Trout went 3 for 5, with two doubles, a run batted in, scored two runs, had a base on balls, and stole a base, helping the Angels win the game over the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a double-header.
Trout indeed moved back to left field after Bourjos returned to the Angels' lineup on June 10. In his 249th career game, he scored his 200th career run, becoming the fastest player to accomplish this since Ted Williams (225 games) and Barney McCosky (236 games) did it in 1940.
Trout represented the Angels in the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He was the leading vote-getter among all AL outfielders and the first Angels position player to start in the All-Star Game since Vladimir Guerrero in 2007. In the month of July, Trout led all of baseball with an on-base percentage of .475 and OPS of 1.108. In addition, he was the only player in the American League to reach base in every game of the month and became the first Angels player to have two consecutive streaks of reaching base in at least 33 games. Trout continued his strong play in August, batting .337 with 6 home runs and an on-base percentage of .500. As in 2012, Trout's play declined somewhat in September, as he batted .281 with 4 home runs and 4 stolen bases.
According to Baseball-Reference, Trout finished the 2013 season with 9.2 WAR, again the highest in baseball. Notably, Trout's walk rate increased from 10.5% in 2012 to 15.4% in 2013. Trout's 110 bases on balls led the American League. Echoing the 2012 season, Miguel Cabrera won the 2013 AL MVP with twenty-three first-place votes, while Trout finished second with five.
American League Most Valuable Player Award (2014)
Rumors of a contract extension surfaced in February 2014, as news outlets reported that the Angels were considering offering Trout a six-year $150 million contract. Instead, he signed a one-year, $1 million contract. That figure is the highest ever for a player not yet eligible for salary arbitration. On March 28, 2014, the Angels announced they had signed Trout to a 6-year, $144.5 million extension.
On May 15, Trout hit his first career walk-off home run in a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. On July 15, Trout appeared in his third All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota. He went 2 for 3, with a double, a triple, and two RBIs. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the game, making him the second-youngest All-Star Game MVP behind Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992.
Playing in 157 games in 2014, Trout batted .287 with 36 home runs, 39 doubles, nine triples, an AL-leading 111 RBI, 16 stolen bases and an MLB-leading 115 runs scored. He also struck out a league-high 184 times. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal, Trout attributed his increased strikeouts to a "golf-swing." Nevertheless, Trout added he is working with staff to fix correct the strikeout tendency, and what may have been the only significant flaw of his all-around game.
In Game 3 of the 2014 American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Trout hit his first career postseason home run but later in the ninth inning, he was the final batter of the Angels to strike out as the team lost to the Royals in a three-game sweep of the series.
On November 13, 2014, Major League Baseball announced that Trout was unanimously selected as the AL MVP, becoming the sixth player in MLB history to win both the regular season MVP and the All-Star Game MVP in the same season. Further, at the time, he was the fifth-youngest MVP ever, the 17th to win unanimously, and the fifth in Angels' franchise history, following Vladimir Guerrero in 2004.
On April 17, 2015, Trout became the youngest player in MLB history to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases. He was 23 years and 253 days old when he reached the milestone, passing the previous record-holder, Alex Rodriguez, who had achieved it at the age of 23 years and 309 days in 1999. Trout led off the 2015 MLB All-Star Game with a home run, becoming the fourth player in All-Star Game history to do so. For the second year in a row, Trout won the All-Star Game MVP Award, becoming the first player ever to win it in consecutive years. On September 22, Trout hit his 40th home run, becoming only the second Angels player to hit 40 home runs in a season. Trout led the AL in WAR for the fourth straight year.
Trout finished the season with 41 homers and 90 RBIs. He also led all American League players in slugging percentage, and OPS with a slashline of .299/.402/.590/.991. For his offensive performance, Trout would go on to win his fourth Silver Slugger Award in as many seasons. In doing so, he became only the second player since Mike Piazza to win four straight Silver Slugger Awards to start off a career. He also won the Best Major League Baseball Player ESPY Award.
On November 10, it was announced that Trout, along with Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain and Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, were finalists for the AL MVP. Trout became the first player since Barry Bonds to be among the top three in MVP voting in four straight seasons.
On November 19, Trout finished second to MVP winner Josh Donaldson, making it the third time he would finish second in MVP voting in his four big league seasons.
In June 2016, Sporting News named Trout "baseball's best player" for the season. According to Fangraphs, he had accumulated more WAR through his age-24 season (on August 12, 2016) than any other player since 1913, with 45. Mickey Mantle was second with 41.1, followed by Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, and Ted Williams. A close contemporary of Trout's, Alex Rodriguez, was seventh.
Awards and achievements
Awards and exhibition team selections
- All-Star Futures Game selection (2010)
- American League Most Valuable Player (2014)
- 3× American League Player of the Month (Jul. 2012, Jun. 2014, Jul. 2015)
- 3× American League Player of the Week (Jun. 11, 2012; Jul. 13, 2014; Jul, 12, 2015)
- 4× American League Rookie of the Month (May–August 2012)
- American League Rookie of the Year (2012)
- 2× Baseball America Major League Player of the Year (2012, 2013)
- 2× Baseball America Minor League Baseball All-Star Team selection (2010, 2011)
- Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year (2011)
- 3× Baseball America Top 100 prospect (2010–12)
- ESPY Award for Best Major League Baseball Player (2015)
- Fielding Bible Award at center field (2012)
- GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Hitter of the Year (2014)
- GIBBY/This Year in Baseball Rookie of the Year (2012)
- Hank Aaron Award (2014)
- Heart & Hustle Award (2012)
- J. G. Taylor Spink Award (2010)
- 5× Major League Baseball All-Star Game selection (2012−16)
- 2× Major League Baseball All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (2014, 2015)
- MLB.com Top 100 prospect (2012)
- Players Choice Award for American League Outstanding Player (2014)
- Players Choice Award for American League Outstanding Rookie (2012)
- 4× Silver Slugger Award at outfield (2012–15)
- Sporting News Rookie of the Year (2012)
- Topps Minor League Baseball All-Star (2010)
- USA Today Minor League Player of the Year (2011)
- Wilson American League Defensive Player of the Year (2012)
Notes: Through 2015 season. Per Baseball-Reference.com.
|Bases on balls leader||1||2013|
|Extra base hits leader||1||2014|
|On-base plus slugging leader||1||2015|
|Runs batted in leader||1||2014|
|Runs scored leader||3||2012−14|
|Slugging percentage leader||1||2015|
|Stolen bases leader||1||2012|
|Total bases leader||1||2014|
Trout's combination of power and speed has drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame center fielder Mickey Mantle. Trout has hit at least 27 home runs and 35 other extra base hits per season between 2012 and 2015, while also maintaining a high batting average and walk rate. He is particularly able to hit pitches that are low in the strike zone. Trout's speed has allowed him to be an above average defender in center field (according to ultimate zone rating) and he is also a proficient baserunner, stealing 113 bases between 2012 and 2015 at a success rate of 84 percent.
In the four-year period since Trout became a regular player, he has been MLB's most productive batter, according to Fangraphs. Trout led all MLB players in total runs above average (park-adjusted wRAA) with 221.5 runs, and led all qualified players in productivity per plate appearance (wRC+), producing runs at a rate 71 percent above league average. Trout's exceptional performance at his young age has caused him to be compared to Ted Williams.
Off the field
Trout's nicknames include "Prince Fish", "God's Gift" and "King Fish 2.0", in reference to retired Angel Tim Salmon. He adopted the nickname "Millville Meteor" only after a prankster edited his Wikipedia article and the name caught on.
In February 2014, President Barack Obama used Trout as an analogy for the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. To emphasize the versatility and utility of the bill, Obama remarked that it was "like Mike Trout, for those of you who know baseball...somebody who's got a lot of tools."
Trout is also a sponsor for SuperPretzel.
- 30–30 club
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs batted in leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career OPS leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career on-base percentage leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career slugging percentage leaders
- List of Major League Baseball runs records