Mike Trout is just 25 years old, and already he has won two MVPs and finished runner-up three times. He is, without question, the best player in baseball – and perhaps the best young player in MLB history.
“The other thing that impresses me is just his mannerisms and his polite attitude that he has toward the fans,” MLB analyst Jim Leyrtiz said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I’m fortunate to be 20 minutes from Anaheim and get to see him play quite a bit. It was like being a teammate of Derek Jeter’s; there was a greatness to him, but there was also an ethic to them that they couldn’t be taught, that was just instilled by their family, their parents – whoever it was instilled by, these kids had it figured out at such an early age.”
Despite Trout’s heroics – he’s averaged 32.6 homers, 96.2 RBIs, 27.8 steals, and 116 runs through his first five full seasons, not to mention a batting average north of .300 and an OBP north of .400 – the Angels have just one playoff appearance during his tenure.
That’s a problem.
“He wants to win,” Leyritz said. “And the way things have gone for the Angels lately, I think in another year or two when he’s up for free agency, they might lose him if they don’t start doing something out here.”
The Angels went 98-64 in 2014 but were swept by the Royals in the ALDS. Anaheim has gone 85-77 and 74-88 over the last two seasons, finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the AL West.
Individual awards are nice – and Trout has plenty of them – but ultimately, the Angels need to become a perennial playoff team. If not, Trout could walk.
“They got to go spend some money,” Leyritz said. “They got to spend some money on bringing in a good pitching staff and surrounding him with the people that are going to help him win. It’s really now (or never). It looks like (Albert Pujols) is going to have a good year. He’s healthy again. This is the year – the next year or two – to do it. If he gets to free agency and they haven’t done better than third place (in the division), I think there’s a good opportunity that they lose him to free agency.”