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Mike Trout hits for the cycle in Angels win (Video)

Mike Trout cycleMike Trout became the sixth Angels player to hit for the cycle when he turned the trick in a 12-0 blowout win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Trout showcased his diverse talents while achieving the milestone. He beat out an infield single to the right side in the third, drilled a triple to center in the fourth, roped a 3-run double down the left field line in the sixth, and he homered to center in the eighth on a low pitch to complete the cycle.

Trout’s grounder in the third would have been an out for most batters, but he was able to get a hit on it because of his elite speed. He also stretched what would have been a double for most people into a triple. And he showed his elite hitting ability by pulling an outside fastball down the line for a double, and by driving a pitch low in the zone out to deep center. Strength, speed, power, contact — Trout has all the tools.

Trout, 21, is the youngest player in the AL to hit for the cycle. He went 4-for-5 with 5 RBIs. The last Angels player to hit for the cycle was Chone Figgins in 2006. I’m guessing Trout will be able to stick around in the bigs a wee bit longer than Figgy did.

The other good signs for the Angels were that Erick Aybar hit two doubles and Josh Hamilton hit a home run. Hamilton now has at least one hit in seven of the team’s last eight games, which is a pretty big deal considering he hit .204 in April.

Mike Trout makes awesome game-saving catch in 9th inning (Video)

Mike-Trout-diving-catchMike Trout has only been in the majors for less than two full seasons, but he has already made more amazing catches than most players will make throughout their entire careers. On Tuesday night, he was at it again as he saved the game for the Los Angeles Angels in the 9th inning against the Texas Rangers.

With the score tied 4-4 and a runner on third in the top of the 9th, Adrian Beltre ripped a line-drive down the left field line that appeared certain to get down for extra bases. Instead, Trout made an outstanding catch and preserved the tie. The Angels went on to win 5-4 in the 11th inning, and Beltre joked after the game that LA had an unfair advantage.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,” he said, via Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s not fair to have 3 center fielders playing the outfield.”

Trout, who is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, was playing left field. Peter Bourjos — also a tremendous outfielder — started the game in center.  Josh Hamilton was in right. If Beltre thinks he was robbed, he should ask some of his fellow players how they felt after Trout did this to them. Or this. Or this.

Dan Haren compares Mike Trout and Bryce Harper

Mike-Trout-AngelsBryce-Harper-Nationals

Washington Nations center fielder Bryce Harper and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout are the future of Major League Baseball. Harper is only 20 years old and Trout is just 21, but they are already two of the game’s biggest superstars after their breakout seasons in 2012.

Dan Haren, who pitched for the Angels last season and is now with the Nats, has had an opportunity to spend time with both young phenoms.

“They’re different players, definitely,” Haren told the Washington Post earlier this week. “I really enjoyed my time with Mike. We got along really well. They’re very different, and they’re very similar. They’re both – sometimes, if you look from an opposing team’s standpoint, you don’t like Bryce or you don’t like Trout. And then you get on their team and it’s the opposite. You kind of see how they are and you like them.

“They both are on the borderline of confident and arrogant, you know? But I think that’s what takes them to the next level. They think that they’re better than everybody else. That’s probably a good way to think. Skills-wise, they have different skill sets. Bryce might have more power. Trout has more speed. I don’t think they’ve even reached their potentials.”

Conveniently enough, both players appeared in 139 games last season. Trout certainly has more speed, as evidenced by his 49 stolen bases compared to Harper’s 18. It would also stand to reason that Trout has more power and is a better overall hitter. Trout hit 30 homers and drove in 83 runs to go along with a .326 batting average. He nearly won the AL MVP. Harper belted 22 homers and drove 59 runs with an average of only .270.

Based on last season alone, it’s easier to make the case that Trout is a better player. Let us also not forget the insane plays like this and this that he made in the field. However, it would be ridiculous to jump to conclusions like that after one season in the majors when neither player has even hit age 22. Harper may have the hotter girlfriend, but Trout put up better numbers in 2012. Are they similar? Yes. But at the moment Trout gets the nod. Something tells me they’ll be neck and neck for a long, long time.

Mike Trout’s agent disappointed with Angels over contract renewal price

Mike TroutMike Trout’s agent, Craig Landis, is disappointed with the Angels over the amount of money for which they chose to renew his client’s contract.

Trout just completed his rookie season for the Angels. MLB players with 0-3 years of service time are paid what the team chooses (so long as it’s over the minimum). Players are arbitration eligible from years 4-6, and they become free agents after six years of service time.

Because he only has one year of service time, the Angels had the right to pay Trout whatever they chose. They opted to renew his contract for $510,000, which is just $20,000 more than the minimum salary.

“In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process,” agent Craig Landis said Saturday, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Landis reportedly said Trout was also disappointed with the amount of money for which the Angels chose to renew his contract.

Teams generally renew the contracts of players’ with 0-3 years of service time in one of two ways: increasing their pay based on service time, or on performance. The Angels operate on the former method, which is why Mark Trumbo received more money ($540,000) than Trout despite having an inferior season.

For context, there is some precedent for teams renewing young players’ contracts for raises if they have performed well.

Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young Award in his second season and was paid $650,000 by the San Francisco Giants the following season (the minimum salary was $400,000). Ryan Howard won Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was paid $355,000 the next season by the Philadelphia Phillies (minimum salary was $327,000). He won MVP in his second season and was renewed for a record $900,000 the following year.

Not only did Landis say Trout is disappointed with his contract renewal price, but he also said his client was disappointed the Angels moved him away from center field.

“As when he learned he would not be the team’s primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series,” Landis said, per The Register.

The Angels better hope neither factor adversely affects their best player.

Though it seems absurd that Trout is making so little money, these are part of the rules the players union agreed to during collective bargaining. They are also important rules; if teams couldn’t control the costs of young players, smaller-market clubs would have even less of a chance to compete because player salaries would escalate quickly. There should be a reward to clubs that draft well.

As long as he remains productive, Trout will be pulling in millions by the time he enters arbitration, and he’ll be in line for at least a $200 million contract when free agency comes. He and his agent should be patient and worry about more important matters, though I do think a team that spent $240 million on Albert Pujols and $125 million for Josh Hamilton could have sprung for an extra $100-200k for Trout. He certainly earned it.

Mike Trout on weight gain: I put on eight pounds, and it was all muscle

Mike Trout says the reports that he showed up to spring training overweight are inaccurate and overblown.

Many fans and analysts were concerned that Trout fell out of shape over the offseason after word circulated that the reigning AL Rookie of the Year had put on weight. The report seemed to emanate from Angels beat writer Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, who tweeted this on Feb. 14:

Reading that Trout was up to 240 pounds and looking like a fullback was pretty stunning, especially when you consider that his player profile on most sports websites lists him at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, which would equate to a 40-pound gain. Additionally, photos posted to Trout’s Twitter account didn’t seem to show a noticeable change in his physique. That’s probably because there wasn’t much of one.

Mike Trout AngelsOn Thursday, Trout set the record straight about his weight during an interview with Mike Gill’s “The Sports Bash” on 97.3 FM in Trout’s home state of New Jersey.

“People say I gained 30 or 40 pounds, they got a wrong answer,” Trout told Gill. “I came into camp like eight pounds over what I played at last year. I ended the year last year 231, and I came in to camp like 240. I’m down to like 235 now.

“I feel great, feel fine, feel normal, so it’s nothing to worry about. [I have] nine percent body fat, so it’s not like I’m out there crushing hamburgers and eating some bad food. Just working out. I didn’t think it was a big deal.

“I think it got out there because when I got drafted it said I was 210, and they haven’t updated it in like three years. I think that’s why they got 30 pounds. Right now, I probably gained five pounds, if that,” said Trout.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia elaborated on the matter during an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”

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Angels to have five Mike Trout giveaways, none for Jered Weaver or Josh Hamilton

The Los Angeles Angels enter the 2013 season with a roster filled with superstars, but none may be more popular than Mike Trout. The 21-year-old burst onto the scene last year and was one of the best players in baseball. Had it not been for Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, Trout could have easily taken home the American League MVP award.

How popular is Trout in LA? Of the eight giveaway promotions the Angels will be holding this season featuring individual players, five have to do with Trout. As the LA Times called to our attention, the team will be giving away Trout bobblehead dolls, kids’ jerseys, blankets, hats and drinking glasses. Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson and Mark Trumbo make up the other three player promotions, meaning no love for Jered Weaver or Josh Hamilton.

It seems there is no question who the most popular player is on a team that has realistic World Series aspirations. Fans are already more than capable of identifying Trout when they see him on the street, and the youngster seems to be enjoying the ride.

“Everywhere I go, I hear my name whispered: ‘That’s Trout! That’s Trout!’” he said. “You can only do this one time.”

Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead said it was a no-brainer for the team to capitalize on Trout’s popularity with the way he performed in 2012.

“If Albert had been the MVP last year, perhaps there would be the same items pushing that,” Mead said.

Amen to that. When a player robs not one, not two, not three, but four home runs over the course of a season, it’s no surprise that he becomes a fan favorite. Mix in his .326 batting average, 30 homers, 49 stolen bases and that massive fish he caught over the summer and you see why Trout could soon become the most popular player in America.

Mike Trout went fishing and his group caught a 550-pound monster (Pictures)

mike trout fish

Is there anything Mike Trout can’t catch? The reigning AL Rookie of the Year (and AL MVP snub) was in Key West, Fla., over the weekend. Trout, his girlfriend, and some family went fishing, and they had a heck of a catch.

Trout’s girlfriend, Tara Cox, tweeted the picture you see above and says the group caught a 500-pound goliath grouper. Another Trout family member, Tyler, says the grouper was 550 pounds and over five feet long. He shared another picture of their catch:

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