With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Angels squad each day this week. Today's topic: How's your star?ANAHEIM -- Since breaking into the Major Leagues with the Angels in 2011, Michael Trout's ascent has been rapid, remarkable and, for the
With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Angels squad each day this week. Today's topic: How's your star?
ANAHEIM -- Since breaking into the Major Leagues with the Angels in 2011, Michael Trout's ascent has been rapid, remarkable and, for the most part, unprecedented.
In November, Trout captured his second American League MVP Award in three years, despite playing on a non-contending team. The Angels' star center fielder became only the second player to finish first or second in the MVP race for five consecutive seasons, joining Barry Bonds.
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Trout's decorated resume now includes two AL MVP Awards, the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award, five All-Star Game selections and five Silver Slugger Awards.
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Perhaps the most impressive part of it all? He's only 25, and won't turn 26 until August.
Trout will enter the 2017 season in the prime of his career and as the unquestioned face of the Angels' franchise. He is signed through 2020 and gives the team its best hope at returning to the playoffs following its disappointing fourth-place finish in the AL West last season.
In 2016, Trout hit .315 with 29 home runs, 32 doubles, five triples, 100 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He led the Majors in runs (123), walks (116) and on-base percentage (.441) and also finished second in the American League with a .991 OPS. Trout also rated well by most defensive metrics, with six Defensive Runs Saved and a career high-matching seven assists.
Trout rarely missed a game, starting 148 games in center field and 11 at designated hitter. Overall, Trout led the Majors in Wins Above Replacement, according to both Baseball-Reference (10.6) and FanGraphs (9.4).
In short, he's the best player in baseball, and the margin isn't particularly close.
Despite Trout's consistent excellence, the Angels have only made the postseason once in the past five years, which ended in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series. Still, general manager Billy Eppler has quietly upgrading the Angels' roster and building around the club's superstar.
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In January, the Angels signed right fielder Kole Calhoun to athree-year, $26 million extension that runs through 2019. Eppler also acquired Cameron Maybin from the Tigers and signed Ben Revere to a one-year, $4 million to fill a void in left field. The additions of second baseman Danny Espinosa, infielder Luis Valbuena, catcher Martin Maldonado and right-hander Jesse Chavez should help Los Angeles make some noise in the AL West.
Will it be enough to transform the Angels into contenders? It remains to be seen, but with Trout in tow, anything is possible.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.