Mike Trout spent all of Monday night showing why he's possibly the greatest player of all-time
Mike Trout has been a one-man wrecking crew from pretty much the moment he arrived in the Major Leagues. There's quite literally nothing he can't do, whether it's at the plate, in center field or even on the basepaths (he's nearly at 200 steals for his career -- a mark that only some 350 men have reached in the history of baseball -- and that's like his seventh-best skill). He's not even competing against his contemporaries on the field at this point; he's competing against history: The only questions left are how many records he'll smash, how many Hall of Fame players he'll pass before his 30th birthday and whether there'll even be a debate about whether he's the best of all-time when it's all said and done.
Because of how good he is -- day in, day out, without seemingly any peaks or valleys -- it can be hard to really wrap your head around. But just what makes Trout so unbelievable? What does that greatness look like? On Monday night, in one single game against the Blue Jays, he offered a crash course.
After lining out in his first at-bat -- even his outs are impressive -- Trout faced pitcher-of-every-team Edwin Jackson with the bases loaded. He then hit a line-drive double on a pitch low and well out of the zone.
There's a reason why the strike zone ends at the knees: Most batters can't do anything with a pitch thrown down there. You foul it off, swing and miss, or pound it into the ground. Even players who feast on low pitches usually can't hit pitches this low. But Trout turned this famine for the rest of the league into his feast.
He switched it up in his next at-bat. Trout saw a pitch that just clipped the outside part of the plate. This is a good pitch -- one that's usually taken for a called strike or, if the batter does swing, winds up too far away from the middle of the plate to hit hard.But this is Mike Trout we're talking about.
Two balls in places where mere mortals can't do anything with them, two screaming line drives. Which begs the question: What could Trout do with a meatball?
He hammers it nearly 460 feet, and Blue Jays fans simply have to sit back and smile in awe.
And then, to top it all off, Trout got one more hit in his final at-bat. This may look like his dinkiest hit -- just a small dribbler into the outfield, but if you notice: There was no one near the ball. The defense had shifted against Trout, expecting the frightening hitter to follow his usual pattern of pulling the ball. Instead, he just went to the opposite field on a blazing 95-mph fastball well off the plate.
No matter what you do, no matter where you pitch him, no matter where you put your fielders, Trout simply responds. Day in and day out, all season long, he's Mr. Automatic -- a player there's no answer for. He is the man who can't make outs. He's Mike Trout and he is going to destroy the record books. We're just lucky to be here to watch it.
Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.