Millville’s Mike Trout vows to return to form

by Marc Narducci | Aug 3, 2022
Millville’s Mike Trout vows to return to form

We often take for granted how difficult it is to achieve stardom, much less longevity in spots. To be able just to play, let alone to compete at the highest of levels takes so much dedication, athletic skill and yes, some good luck.

Last week the head athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Angeles Mike Forstad revealed that center fielder Mike Trout had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Trout, the 2009 Millville graduate, has already ensured his status as a Hall of Fame player. He would be on the Mount Rushmore of South Jersey athletes for all he has accomplished.

Trout has not played since July 12th for what was then labeled as rib cage inflammation.

Forstad has since revealed the spinal condition. Trout, like any competitor, dismissed any talk about his career being threatened.

He told reporters that once Forstad’s comments went public, he received all sorts of calls from people asking him if his career was over. 

While admitting that this injury is rare for a baseball player, Trout simply suggested that he has to stay on top of the injury.

Baseball fans and especially those from South Jersey, hope that the solution is that simple.

Listed as 6-foot-2 and 235-pounds, Trout turns 31 on Aug. 7. That isn’t old for a baseball player, but it’s not young either.

He is signed through the 2030 season, part of a 12-year $426.5 million extension. The Angels drafted him out of Millville's 25th overall in the 2009 draft.

Back then, many teams were wary of Trout since he played in New Jersey, and not in some warm-weather baseball hotbed such as California, Florida or Texas.

Trout wasn’t an immediate sensation, but it didn’t take long. In 2011, he made his MLB debut at the age of 19 and hit .220 in 135 plate appearances.

He began the 2012 season in Triple-A Salt Lake City, but after 40 games he was batting .403/.467/.623.

 Trout was recalled to the Angles and that season made the first of 10 straight All-Star games, batting .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI and a league-leading 49 stolen bases. (There was no All-Star game in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

He was on his way to Cooperstown. Trout is one of those players that also includes Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw, who has already ensured a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, whether he plays another game or not.

His lifetime stats: .303 with 334 home runs, 867 RBI, 1,022 runs, a 1.000 OPS and a 176 OPS+, which is 76 percent above the league average. He is sixth all-time in OPS+.

Trout has won three MVP awards, and finished in the top five six other times. He was a four-time MVP runner-up and also finished fourth and fifth in two other seasons.

Last season a calf injury limited Trout to just 36 games (He was still named to the All-Star team, a sign of his popularity with the fans).

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This year he is hitting .270//.368/.599 with a 169 OPS+ along with 24 home runs and 51 RBI.

He is no longer a stolen base threat, with just four total in his past three seasons, including this year.

All athletes slow down, but Trout is still playing at an elite level. Nobody should doubt his determination to return and claim his position as baseball’s best player.

 It’s just that nothing is guaranteed for any athlete, even one as great as Trout.

Author: Marc Narducci


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