LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — CBS2/KCAL9’s Kristine Leahy recently sat down with Mike Trout to talk to the Angels rookie sensation about his rise to stardom plus his future moving forward with the team.
The kid from Millville, New Jersey has been the breakout star for the Angels, carrying the team since his arrival on April 28th.
Trout leads the league with 127 runs scored and has posted a whopping 10.4 WAR. Trout’s defense is equally as impressive this season with numerous outstanding plays — most memorably his catch over the center field wall against Baltimore in late June. He’s also posted impressive numbers in every offensive category. Trout’s bat line has been outstanding: .322/.394/.556. He recently hit his 30th homer against the Texas Ranger to make him the first rookie to ever hit 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases bases.
Trout is also the first player in the history of baseball to hit 30 homers, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in the same season.
This breakout season has linked Trout’s name to some of the all-time greats in the game. He says, “it feels good to get compared to Mickey Mantle and Ricky Henderson. Once you get out on the field you gotta put all that stuff behind you and just go out and play. You can’t think of Micky Mantle and Ricky Henderson on the field.”
Success has been ingrained in Trout’s blood since his days as a little leaguer. He told Leahy, “you gotta be confident in your ability, so throughout my whole life I was playing 12th grade when I was 9 and just being out there with the older guys, just going out and having fun.”
And he believes in having fun on and off the baseball field. When not playing ball, he’s still sports-minded. He likes to take time off the way many 21-year-olds would. “When I go back home, I hunt and golf and fish. That’s what I like to do.”
Trout plays with enthusiasm on every play, which is one of the reasons why he is beloved across the nation.
All that being said, Torii Hunter does an excellent job of keeping Mike Trout grounded. Says Trout, “he’s always there to lead me in the right way and if there’s ever anything I need to know he always gives me the right answer.”
Some major league players make headlines for partying up a storm when they take the uniform off. Not Trout. He still lives with his parents and even struggles with doing his own laundry.
Although he is a rising superstar, feared slugger and the face of the franchise, Mike Trout is still prone to a little rookie hazing. “I gotta carry around a teddy bear with me everywhere I go.”
Engaging in these team bonding activities has allowed Trout to keep things loose and fun, just like teammates Hunter and Vernon Wells do on a nightly basis.
For now, the fun-loving Trout has championship aspirations. When asked if his stellar rookie season could get any better, Trout shot back,”Um, yeah, if we win the World Series. That’s the plan coming in. As a kid to have a ring on your finger and making the playoffs is the first step.”
Trout is currently making $480,000 per season — a major bargain by baseball phenom standards. As their postseason hopes look thinner by the day, the Angels need to assure success for years to come by locking up their 21-year-old superstar to a long-term deal.
Trout’s play demands a large contract, but the Angles have already invested millions into free-agent acquisitions Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Players like Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo and Zack Greinke will be up for free agency this offseason and might demand big money contracts, as well.
The team eagerly wants to sign their MVP-candidate, and seeing what he has done in 2012, no dollar amount would be too much to retain Trout’s services.