Trout on record pace 100 games into first full season
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TON -- Mike Trout's rookie season has been one for the ages. The center fielder's first 100 games are unmatched by any rookie in Major League history.
The Angels phenom entered Wednesday leading the American League with a .344 average and 39 stolen bases. Trout has scored 97 runs, the most by any rookie since Joe DiMaggio had 100 in his first 100 games in 1936. Trout's 139 hits are the most by a rookie in that span since Ichiro Suzuki had 147 in 2001.
"As a kid growing up, you've always wanted to do this, and now that I'm here, it's pretty surreal," Trout said. "But it's been pretty neat for me so far this year."
But Trout, 21, is not getting caught up in the statistics or his place in baseball lore.
"We're just trying to make the playoffs," said Trout, who leads the AL with a 1.014 OPS. "All the individual stats and all the other stuff doesn't matter unless you make the playoffs. I just wanted to come up here and not try to do too much, just be myself. But getting a chance to play every day, to lead off every day, it's been pretty good."
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter has seen his share of rookies during his 16 years in the Majors. But Hunter hasn't come across anyone quite like Trout.
"This kid is special. He's a five-tool player," Hunter said. "He plays the game the right way. He plays hard. He would do anything to sacrifice for this team to help us win. That's what I like about him."
Trout's numbers speak for themselves. But he sets himself apart from other rookies in a variety of ways.
"Most 20, 21-year-olds, they come in trying to make a name for themselves," Hunter said. "He's actually trying to help us win."
If Trout keeps up his current pace, he'll become the only player in Major League history to hit at least .340 with 20 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season. The only players in the last 63 years to lead a league in average and steals in the same season are Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Jackie Robinson (1949). That's pretty impressive company.
"He has the potential to be doing the things that he's doing, you just don't see it in young guys very often and you're seeing Mike Trout do it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
At this point, Trout has all but locked up American League Rookie of the Year honors.
"No question. It's a no-brainer," Hunter said. "Why even bring it up? Just give it to him right now. Call him 'Roy.' We should just have a ROY party right now."
Trout is also making a strong case for consideration as the AL's Most Valuable Player.
"If we win and get into the playoffs, then definitely, no doubt about it," Hunter said. "The numbers that he has are pretty impressive. MVP, for me, is the most valuable player who's helping that team win.
"Before he got here, we were losing. When he got here, we started winning. I got to thank Trout for that."
Perhaps what it most unique about Trout is his ability to silence the distractions off the field and still remain at the top of his game on the baseball diamond.
Trout is on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated. He's the talk of the town wherever the Angels travel. The attention is on him. He hasn't wavered, though.
"It's tough enough coming up here and getting acclimated to the Major Leagues without having such a spotlight be put on you," Scioscia said. "But it's on him for good reasons, it's not like he's up here failing, he's up here achieving. I think Mike understands when enough is enough and when he needs to play baseball. I think he's adjusted and very confident in what he needs to do."
One-hundred games in, Trout is just getting started.