Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mike Trout: The face of Major League Baseball


         Hitting out of the leadoff spot in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game, Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout found his way into yet another major league record book. Trout blasted a 1-2 offering from Dodgers’ ace Zach Greinke into the right field seats, becoming only the fourth player in MLB history to lead off an All-Star Game with a home run. Trout is the first player to accomplish the feat since former Royals outfielder Bo Jackson led off the 1989 mid-summer classic with a home run. Trout would finish the night 1-for-3 at the plate, with a walk, RBI and two runs scored. Trout’s efforts would be rewarded, as he was named the All-Star Game MVP for the second consecutive season. Trout is only the fifth player to ever win multiple All-Star Game MVP awards (others are Willie Mays, Cal Ripken Jr., Steve Garvey, and Gary Carter... some pretty good company). However, he is the first player in MLB history to win the honor in consecutive years … Did I mention he’s only 23-years-old?
            The Los Angeles Angels selected Millville Senior High School outfielder Mike Trout with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. As a 17-year-old in the Angels farm system, Trout hit .352 as a member of the Angels’ Class-A rookie ball affiliate. Needless to say, Trout blazed through the minors and made his Major League debut for the Angels at age 19.
            Since winning AL Rookie of the Year in 2012, Trout has only racked up more and more accolades, achieving superstar status thus far in the Majors. In his five seasons as a big leaguer, Trout has brought home three Silver Slugger awards, an AL MVP trophy and four All-Star Game appearances. With his homerun against the Houston Astros on April 17, Trout became the youngest player in major league history to hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases in a career.
            With his upside through the roof, Trout is the undisputed leader of baseball’s new generation. Trout’s youth is just scary. Still considered years away from his “prime” (age 26-31) by many, who knows what feats and records Trout will crush before he even celebrates his 25th birthday. With plenty of accolades and milestones ahead of him, Trout is about as sure a Cooperstown-lock you will find in a 23-year-old (barring some tragic injury… Hey, I had to say it).
Recognizing this, the Angels were wise to lock up their franchise cornerstone on a six-year, $144.5 million dollar contract extension signed in March of 2014. The contract keeps Trout in Los Angeles through the 2019-2020 regular season. Trout will have the chance to enter free agency at age 29, and if you thought that Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million dollar contract was absurd money, hold your breath. Who knows what type of player Trout will have blossomed into by 2020… and who knows how much cash MLB franchises will be willing to dish out to make Trout the face of their franchise.
In last year’s All-Star Game in Minnesota, Major League Baseball said farewell to “The Captain” Derek Jeter. Jeter, a baseball icon and soon-to-be first ballot Hall of Famer, was the long-standing face of Major League Baseball. It is fitting that one year later, Trout finds himself succeeding Jeter as the most notable figure in all of baseball. Trout is a household-name, carries himself well both on and off the field, and as many analysts will tell you, he just respects and “plays the game right”.
So, to the cynical baseball fan who is sick of seeing Mike Trout’s face plastered all over the place, get used to it. Trout’s got plenty more All-Star Games to dominate, home runs to hit, diving catches to make and Chevrolet trucks to win.

The New Jersey native is Major League Baseball’s new face. 

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