ANAHEIM -- Flanking the 16-by-9 foot projector screen at the heart of Downtown Disney's ESPN Zone -- where MLB Network premiered its upcoming "Mike Trout: Millville to MVP" special on Friday afternoon -- was a list of the documentary subject's accomplishments: two American League Most Valuable Player Awards; five All-Star appearances,
ANAHEIM -- Flanking the 16-by-9 foot projector screen at the heart of Downtown Disney's ESPN Zone -- where MLB Network premiered its upcoming "Mike Trout: Millville to MVP" special on Friday afternoon -- was a list of the documentary subject's accomplishments: two American League Most Valuable Player Awards; five All-Star appearances, including two MVPs; five AL Silver Slugger Awards and a number of statistical feats. They were the kind of accomplishments one might accumulate throughout a long, illustrious career.
But not for Michael Trout. In just five full seasons in the Major Leagues, the 25-year-old Angels star is in the midst of his prime, touting a mantle filled with more trophies and accolades than most achieve in a lifetime. That meteoric rise from New Jersey prospect to MLB superstar is chronicled in the latest edition of the MLB Network Presents series, which will have its national television premiere at 8 p.m. ET tonight.
The one-hour documentary, filmed during the 2016-17 offseason, received a glowing review from its titular star: "It was unbelievable," Trout said, dropping by before the screening for a brief Q&A with MLB Network's Brian Kenny.
The film focuses on Trout's connection to his hometown of Millville, New Jersey, where he still lives in the offseason, not far from his parents' home. It offers insight into the center fielder's upbringing and presents different perspectives from the 28,711-population town that has watched Trout grow into one of baseball's brightest stars.
"We knew he had a strong connection to Millville, but we didn't realize how genuine it was and how strong it was," producer James Potocki said. "By the time he walked in to the time he walked out, we knew the story was different. It needed to be about New Jersey, it needed to be about the kid from Millville."
Another Q&A session proceeded the screening with Potocki and 16-year MLB veteran and Angels radio color analyst Mark Langston taking questions from Kenny and the audience. Langston drew comparisons for Trout to another big leaguer who achieved stardom at a very young age.
"The only guy I've ever been able to compare to with Mike Trout is Ken Griffey Jr.," said Langston, who was teammates with Griffey in Seattle in 1989. "So many things that I see in Mike Trout, I saw back then in Ken Griffey Jr. And we all know how Ken Griffey Jr.'s career turned out."
Trout now enters his age-26 season still looking to improve. Even as a face of MLB, he isn't concerned with building his brand or increasing his celebrity. His focus is trained intensely on the field, where he hopes to lead the Angels back to the postseason for just the second time in his career.
"I want to be the best ever. That's my mentality," Trout said. "People ask me how do I get my brand up. I just go out there and play. You know, I'm really simple. I go out there and just let my game talk.
"Once the national anthem goes on, and I go out there and stretch, it's all the mentality of winning baseball games."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.