Yes: he was the 25th pick of the first round, which means he wasn’t the kind of can’t-miss prospect that some believe.
But he was still a first-rounder, and with work and dedication (and after a horrible MLB stint in 2011 as a rookie), he became perhaps the best player ever to step on a baseball field.
In case you don’t remember, the 2012 season represented his breakthrough.
That year, he slashed .326/.399/.564 with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases.
He didn’t win the MVP because some guy named Miguel Cabrera took home the American League hitting Triple Crown, but he had a marvelous performance in which he surpassed the vaunted 10-WAR threshold.
Some say, and they are probably right, that 2012 was Trout’s best season in MLB because he complemented his historically great offense with top-notch defense.
It was, by far, his best fielding season, with 21 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in center field.
Oh, and he could do things like this:
(2012) Rookie Mike Trout makes an UNBELIEVABLE catch at the wall 😱
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) January 5, 2023
The read, the speed, and the jump are all outstanding.
He was immediately greeted by the great Torii Hunter.
Some defensive outfield the Angels had back in the day, huh?
Naturally, as it happens with all athletes, slight decline and injuries have prevented Trout from achieving that kind of defensive season anymore.
He is still a difference-maker at the plate, though, as he remains a top-five hitter in the game when healthy.
Plays like that one are what got many fans to fall in love with Trout’s game.
He was by far the most exciting player of the early 2010s, and definitely deserves his ring.