It's possible we haven't seen Mike Trout's best season yet. Granted, this can be said of all 25-year-old players but no others have been putting up MVP-caliber campaigns since they were 20, winning in 2014 and again in 2016. Most impressive is that Trout's strikeout and walk rates have improved each of the last two years, further cementing the league's best floor. The concern over dwindling steals was assuaged last season as Trout swiped 30 for the first time since 2013. His power dropped, but when 29 homers is a disappointment, the bar is set high. The outfielder is a lock for over 100 runs, averaging 116 the past five seasons while a threat to drive home 100 teammates. Others are legitimately in the conversation but pegging Trout with the first overall pick or spending top auction dollars is absolutely warranted. No one else has the combination of his super-high floor...with upside.
Trout went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI in Wednesday's win over the Reds. Despite it being early in the spring campaign, Trout already seems locked in at the plate. The reigning AL MVP is slashing .308/.500/.538 in 17 plate appearances. The power hasn't arrived yet, but he should be showcasing that aspect of his game soon, considering he smashed 15 homers over his last three spring training campaigns. Fantasy owners will only be concerning themselves with Trout's health, as he has nothing to prove at the plate after establishing himself as an elite fantasy option over the past five seasons.
Trout said that he would like to get back to 40 steals this season, the Orange County Register reports. Trout saw his steals decrease exponentially after accruing 49 in his breakout campaign in 2012. They got as low as 11 in 2015 before bouncing back with 30 steals last season. The two-time AL MVP is looking to continue that trend in 2016 with 40 being the goal he set for himself this spring training. We all know Trout has the athleticism to pull it off, but stolen bases are largely dictated by a team's coaches and also are affected by where a player bats in the order. If he were to attain his goal, he would have the potential to be the fifth member of the elite 40-40 club (he hit 41 homers in 2015). It's a stretch to project he will attain that milestone, but the fact that it is even plausible is what makes Trout easily one of the top fantasy options heading into the regular season.
Trout was named the American League MVP by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. There was some speculation that Trout might narrowly miss out on yet another MVP award, but in the end, the AL's best player received his proper recognition. Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve came in second and third in the voting, respectively. Trout hit .315/.441/.550 with 29 homers, 100 RBI, 123 runs scored and 30 steals, and figures to be the consensus top pick in drafts next spring.
Trout went 1-for-2 with two walks, an RBI and a stolen base in Sunday's win over the Astros. In addition to finishing the regular season with a .315/.441/.550 slash line, Trout rounded off his counting stats nicely by picking up his 100th RBI and 30th stolen base Sunday, to go along with 29 home runs and 123 runs scored. The perennial MVP candidate will once again be a strong consideration for the top pick in fantasy drafts in 2017.
Trout (shoulder) is in the lineup for Friday's game against the Astros, Eric Kay of the Angels reports. Trout injured his shoulder in the Angels' last game Wednesday and was removed early. His setback will not prevent him from playing in Friday's game, but he will be used as the designated hitter to prevent him from having to throw. He will hit second in the Angels' batting order against Astros starter Brad Peacock.