In the past two years, the names of two players in the major leagues have been a hot topic in Jangan. In 2021, Shohei Ohtani (29‧LA Angels), who made the ridiculous story of a true two-other job a reality, was the top star. Last year, the best story was the home run race of Aaron Judge (31, New York Yankees), who prevented Ohtani from winning two consecutive MVP awards.
In the meantime, the name of Mike Trout (32, Los Angeles Angels), who is said to be the best current major league player, was forgotten for a while. He was still a top player when he was on the pitch, but that’s because his time off the field has increased. Trout tasted his best trial since his debut, staying in 36 appearances in 2021, and last year he only made 119 appearances.
The total OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) for two years was still the highest at 1.020, but the meaning of players who could not run was greatly reduced. In the meantime, Ohtani and Judge seemed to have taken the spotlight.
Trout, who debuted in the major leagues in 2011, was a player who was ranked in the top 5 in MVP voting for 9 consecutive years from 2012 to 2020, and was the best star of the time, winning MVP three times (2014, 2016, 2019). He was a player who showed the best skills in both ball, defense and state, and became an icon in the major leagues with his sincere and clean personal life. Trout also holds the record for the largest contract in major league history (a total of 426.5 million dollars over 12 years).
Could Trout’s counterattack begin? Looking at his pace at the beginning of this season, it seems likely. He is still showing a good pioneering plan, and his grades started off well. Trout batted just .262 through his first 12 games of the season, but he’s posting an OPS of .960 with three home runs and nine RBIs. He’s below his career OPS (1.002), but he’s positioned to reach that threshold anytime. 메이저놀이터
There is an opinion that this OPS is also underestimated when comprehensively considering his batting speed and quality. Trout is .485 in expected weighted on-base percentage (xwOBA). It is a tally that he can expect this level of wOBA when looking at the quality of contact, strikeout, and walk rates comprehensively. This is much higher than Trout’s wOBA (.440). If Trout continues his current sense, he can pull out much better numbers than he has now.
Of course, it’s early in the season, but Trout’s average exit velocity this year is a whopping 96 mph, which is much better than his career figure (91.4 mph) since 2015, when the Statcast system was introduced. The strikeout rate of 21.6% is a significant drop from 2021 (28.1%) and 2022 (27.9%), while the walk rate (19.6%) is the best since 2018 (20.1%).
Last year, there were doubts that he could not keep up with the speed, such as a lot of swings on the fastball side, but this year, the batting average against fastballs also rose to 0.304 and the slugging percentage rose to 0.739, and the numbers are gradually improving.
There are a few hitters who are doing better than Trout at this point, but Trout has a different factor in that he has many memories of enduring this long season. At least starting as a hitter is better than Ohtani and Judge, and whether he can regain the title of ‘Best Hitter’ this year is one of the points to watch in the league.