Another year, another Mike Trout injured birthday. Despite being the best player in Angels history, he has been injured more often than not as of late.
It has been 6 years since he has played in 150 games in a season and has had more seasons playing under 140 games than over in his career. What used to be one of the most consistent players in baseball has now officially become injury prone. That back issue may or may not be a disease, but it sure will act like a lifelong condition.
The man is going down a Ken Griffey Jr path and it not only saddens Angels fans, but actively impacts the team’s future. Shohei Ohtani didn’t get traded because Mike Trout was injured. Argue about if he should be traded or not, Mike Trout’s injury has impacted the team beyond his lack of production from being away so long.
We will look back at these last few years wondering what could have been. Troutani should have been the best duo in baseball, yet they have so few games together. Ohtani only pitched for 10 games in 2018, then in 2021 Trout only played in 36 games when Ohtani was able to pitch again. 2022 was the first time both were on the field at full strength for half a season, and the team looked great until May 25th.
Sadly, Mike Trout is on his decline. He has stolen a total of 4 bases the last 3 seasons, and 15 in the last 4. Getting to 300 in his career is all but a pipe dream now. Even worse, his most defining stat, Wins Above Replacement, will never be one that he will lead in now. He was once ahead of the greatest of all time in that stat for his age, but now is far behind. Mike Trout needed those 12 WAR seasons to keep up, alas, he hasn’t been able to top 2016 due to the injuries.
When Mike Trout eventually returns to play, be it this year or next, cherish him. Cherish every at bat. For you are witnessing one of the greatest of all time. Happy Birthday Mike Trout. I hope you prove me wrong.