Trout's torrid pace could lead to exclusive club
TORONTO -- With 19 games left, Mike Trout is 21 hits away from reaching 200 -- and some more rare company.
The list of players who notched 200 hits in their age-21 season is currently only 10 deep: Starlin Castro (2011), Alex Rodriguez (1996), Garry Templeton (1977), Vada Pinson (1959), Al Kaline (1955), Buddy Lewis (1937), Joe DiMaggio (1936), Hal Trosky (1934), Lloyd Waner (1927) and Ty Cobb (1907).
"I think it would be cool," said Trout, who is 22 but is in his age-21 season because his birthday is after June 30. "It's one of those things, just grinding out the rest of the year, trying to finish strong. If I get it, I get it."
But it does not stop at 200 hits for Trout.
He is two homers away from 25, has already topped 30 steals (with 32) and is two runs away from 100. Here are the players who have combined at least 200 hits with 25 homers, 30 steals and 100 runs scored in their age-21 season or younger:
Only 11 players have done it at any point in their career. They are: Jacoby Ellsbury (2011), Jimmy Rollins (2007), Hanley Ramirez (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2002), Vladimir Guerrero (2002), Rodriguez (1998), Larry Walker (1997), Ellis Burks (1996), Bobby Bonds (1970), Hank Aaron (1963) and Willie Mays (1958).
Trout entered Tuesday with a .338/.437/.572 slash line, giving him a 1.009 OPS that ranks third in the Majors behind only Miguel Cabrera (1.113) and Chris Davis (1.023). His 9.8 wins above replacement, as calculated by FanGraphs.com, easily leads the Majors -- Andrew McCutchen is second at 7.4 -- and would be the highest ever for a player in his age-21 at season's end.
Trout's .437 on-base percentage entering Tuesday would be the highest in Angels history -- Tim Salmon and Chili Davis each had a .429 mark in 1995 -- and is a byproduct of his American League-leading 90 walks, which he raised to 91 in the first inning of the series opener against the Blue Jays.
Asked before that game if there was a major difference in the pitches he was getting to hit this year compared with last year, Trout said: "Oh yeah, I think it is. Not having Albert [Pujols] hit behind you, a couple of guys being hurt, you definitely get less pitches to hit."
And that leads to probably the only question surrounding Trout's pursuit of 200 hits: Will he see enough strikes?