Mike Trout’s fondest All-Star memory is the 2014 game in Minnesota, where the Angels center fielder hit a home run in front of childhood idol Derek Jeter alongside the New York Yankees shortstop, who was playing his final All-Star game. Star was playing, there was a closet. .
Trout had a double, a triple and two RBIs in a 5-3 American League win over the National League that night and was named the game’s most valuable player, earning him a Corvette Stingray that he still owns.
Trout led off the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati with a homer and two runs scored in a 6-3 AL victory to earn his second All-Star Game MVP award and a Silverado Midnight Edition truck, which he gifted the son of his representative, get it.
But when Trout joins baseball’s best and brightest at Dodger Stadium this weekend for All-Star Game festivities, he’ll create a new set of memories that have little to do with baseball and everything to do with family.
Trout’s 10th All-Star Game will be his first with his son, Beckham, and the three-time AL MVP plans to take his friend of nearly 2 years through several events leading up to Tuesday’s game.
“I brought my own a few years ago [then 5-year-old] nephew, Landon, to the game, and that was great, but it’s going to be a whole different story bringing Beckham in,” said Trout, who didn’t play in last summer’s game due to injury.
“He’s starting to understand that I’m playing baseball. … I don’t know if he knows everything, but he’s starting to kind of, you know, when I come on TV and when I bring him to the club after games. It’s going to be special. .”
When Trout played in his first All-Star game as a 20-year-old in 2012, he was so wrapped up in the hoopla that he barely noticed how many veteran players included their young children. are together
But the older he got, the more he interacted with the children of fellow Angels like Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols, and the closer he and his wife Jessica got to starting a family, the more Trout began to anticipate having a child of his own. . for an All-Star Game media session, work day or home run.
“I’m going to play with him as long as I can,” Trout, 30, said. “He’s still young, almost 2 years old, but I’m sure I’ll take him to the field, see how he likes it. He’s good with things like that. He likes fireworks, he likes being in He likes the field and stuff, so I think the derby will be good for him.”
Young Beckham has already starred in a social media video in which he throws a raccoon that Trout hits with a toy bat at his Newport Beach home, after which the child wearing it says, “Now Beckham do it!” Beckham is definitely taking some TV time away from his famous dad this week.
“Beckham, man, he’s going to be a little legend,” Angels shortstop Tyler Wade said before being traded to triple-A Salt Lake in early July. “I mean, Mike Trout is his father, he has no choice.”
If Beckham follows in his father’s footsteps, he will have some big shoes to fill.
Trout was considered the best player in baseball for most of the past decade until a calf injury sidelined him for most of 2021, handing the title to teammate Shohei Ohtani, who was a pick after his historic doubleheader season. was the unanimous AL MVP.
But Trout has earned a spot in baseball’s upper echelon by a 2022 regression, entering this past week with a .268 average, .967 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 24 homers, 17 doubles, 51 RBI and 55 runs. his first 78 games.
Strikeouts have been a problem — Trout’s whiff rate has risen to a career-high 29.3% this season, well above his career average of 21.9% — and he suffered a pair of unusually long, 0-for-26 slumps in late May. and extended one-to-25 in early June and early July.
But Trout still entered this past week with the sixth-best OPS and fourth-best slugging percentage (.600) in baseball.
“I didn’t know Mike Trout personally before this season, but knowing him like I do now, he just adds to what you look at as star power, as the face of this game,” said Angels interim manager Phil Nevin, base manager. third base of the New York Yankees from 2018 to 2021.
“There was a little hole at the top of the strike zone that if you get it in those little corners there, you can get him out. But you can’t miss. If you miss, you pay for it.”
– Seattle Mariners manager and former Angels assistant GM Scott Servais
“I had [Yankees slugger] Aaron Judge for the last four years, and [Trout] is in the same boat. The game of baseball is in their hands with the stars we have.”
A consistent approach and consistent work ethic have fueled Trout’s decade of dominance on the pitch.
His proper stance and swing mechanism haven’t changed much over the years, although he had a more pronounced leg kick as a teenager. Timing is always key. When Trout lands his front foot in time, he sees the ball better and consistently matches it.
Trout often destroys breaking balls in the zone — he has a league-best .866 slugging percentage since the start of the 2018 season.
He’s vulnerable to the tough stuff at the top of the zone, a weakness the Cubs exploited often in 2014, when Trout struck out a career-high 184 times, and has a winning streak this season, with Trout entered this week with a 95 last week. strikeouts.
Trout hit .243 with a .464 slugging percentage on fastballs in the zone from 2015 to 2021, before settling for a .064 average. (three for 47) on such pitches this season.
Seattle Mariners manager Scott said, “One of the early things that stood out to me about Mike Trout is that as a young player, even in his first full year, he knew exactly where the outfield was, and he don’t follow.” Servais, assistant general manager of the Angels from 2011 to 2015.
“So then people started going up and down more, and there was a little hole at the top of the strike zone, that if you get it in those little corners there, you can pull it out. But you can’t forget don’t. If you forget, you will pay for it.”
Servais, in his seventh year in Seattle, knows this all too well. No player has hit more home runs against the Mariners than Trout, who has a .327 average, 1.106 OPS, 53 homers, 37 doubles and 132 RBI in 175 career games against them. “He’s one of the greatest players of our time, no question about it,” Servais said. “He has done us a lot of damage over the years.”
The Mariners have intentionally walked Trout 31 times, three times in a June 24-26 series in Anaheim in which Ohtani struck out behind him. Trout ripped a 111.8-mph missile to center field in that series that was so wildly clipped, the ball sailed a good 10 feet over Julio Rodríguez’s head for a triple. “Right off the bat, I thought Julio had a chance to get it,” Servais said. “Then he got on top of him.”
It is common for hard lines to happen on infielders. On the outside? Not so much. “You don’t see that very often because there’s not a lot of guys that can do that,” Servais said. “Trout will do it. [Houston slugger] Yordan Álvarez did it. They hit the ball so hard and hit it so clean that there is no spin. It hits 110-112 mph out there, and it’s not easy to catch.”
Trout will showcase his skills on an All-Star Game stage for the first time since 2019, after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 game and he is out of the 2021 game due to a right elbow strain. sat down.
Although some veterans who have played in multiple All-Star games sometimes look for knee-jerk reasons, citing the need to stay or recover from minor injuries, Trout has never looked for a classic running back.
“It’s all about the fans,” Trout said. “It’s a fun week, where you get to interact with the best players across the game. You get new faces coming in, guys who get called up and impact the game, and you look forward to meeting those guys.