Mike Trout sat in the Angels’ dugout before the team’s 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday. It was a scheduled day off for the slugger on a two-game home run streak, off a seven-game trip through Cleveland and Baltimore.
The Angels also had a long flight from the East Coast to Anaheim the night before. Factoring in the schedule through the rest of the month — the Angels will have had just two days off between May 12 and June 18 — it seemed like a good day to give to Trout.
“I was just talking to [manager Phil Nevin] about this yesterday,” Trout said. “It’s the best my body’s felt. It’s May 19. Getting these days off, it’s just gonna get me through the tough stretch coming up.”
At 31, Trout knows he is not getting any younger, but he also has such a keen understanding of himself and his body that he knows what will continue to make his success and presence in a season sustainable. It’s why, in his 13th major league season, he feels like he is in his prime.
“I don’t know if there’s an age [to be in your] prime,” Trout said. “But I have a pretty good idea of how my body is, how my swing is, how to prepare myself, just going through everything.
“The more experience you get, the more you learn, but when you get a little older, you gotta start taking care of your body.”
In the past two years, Trout dealt with a right calf strain, which limited him to 36 games in 2021, and a back injury in 2022, which cost him about one month of playing time in the middle of the season. He returned in the middle of August, finishing 2022 with 40 home runs, his ninth Silver Slugger and coming in eighth in the AL MVP race.
The calf issue has not resurfaced, neither has the back issue, resulting from that continued understanding of his body and what to do to prevent those issues from returning. To help prevent his back issue from returning, for example, Trout explained last year he implemented additional exercises to his pregame routine.
“When you’re younger, you just come to the field and do your thing, go out there and play,” Trout said. “Now, it’s taking care of yourself and learning from that.”
“And just to be in the same conversations as some of the greats, it’s pretty special.”
Trout recently passed Hall of Famers, pitcher Pedro Martinez and center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., on the all-time wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboard. Trout’s 84.0 WAR ranks him 56th on that leaderboard, but he’s also the highest ranked active player — Clayton Kershaw’s 78.1 is ranked No. 70.
Trout’s three American League most valuable player awards, 10 All-Star elections and nine Silver Slugger awards, just to name a few of his accolades, already solidified his status as one of the best players in baseball.
WAR is an oft-debated stat among baseball fans, pundits, players, and the like. It’s defined by MLB as the measure of a player’s value “in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position.” The number is arbitrary, but the company among the top WAR leaders are hard to overlook when seeing where Trout places.
“As a kid, growing up watching Griffey, being able to play this game, get to know him a little bit and just be in the same conversation,” Trout said. “It’s pretty special. It’s pretty cool.
“I still couldn’t tell you how they calculate WAR, but I guess if you go out there and play good, that’s good, I guess,” he joked.
Reid Detmers dominant in Angels win
Reid Detmers took a no-hit bid into the top of the sixth inning before it was broken up by Byron Buxton’s single to left field.
Detmers was pulled after giving up a second single, to Kyle Farmer, which allowed the Twins to score their first run. Detmers went 5 2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits. He walked three and had a career-high-tying 12 strikeouts.
The Angels overcame a one-run deficit when Mickey Moniak and Hunter Renfroe drove in runs to pull them ahead in the seventh.