It's not always easy writing about the best in any particular sport. I can imagine the Chicago Bulls beatwriters of the 1990's wondering what the next storyline could be, at times. After it was all said and done, Michael Jordan and the gang won a boatload of titles, Jordan retired after a few, came back for another run and after that, I would imagine there was a dead period of time there. However, there's one way of thinking that very few, if any select group, have written about Major League Baseball's golden boy. The possible (eventual?) slump from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Mike Trout.
Most sportwriters don't think about the subject too often and that could be because of last season, where Trout didn't hit the dreaded sophomore slump and in some ways, was an even better player. I'll even go out on a limb and say Trout's second full season was even more shocking than his true rookie season because there were no expectations for that rookie year. Writers and fans alike expected a regression in the second year and in the first, just hoped that they would see an exciting kid with promise. They didn't get an exciting kid with promise. They got the best player in baseball and if he were to keep this production, would very likely be in the discussion of best players in baseball history. Well, that is if Jeff Mathis gives up his spot.
One would think that the roulette table's bound to hit an odd number, seeing as that is what's normal for professional sports. You can't keep your success forever, it's bound to come down at some venture. Color me stupid but after looking at every possible situation besides the obvious injury, it doesn't look like that will be this year. At the same time, I don't think any of us had Robinson Cano going to the Seattle Mariners during the 2013 season and well, as Jay-Z once said, onto the next one. Mike Trout might have an off year. It could happen.
When you see a player have a much lower batting average than the previous year or even multiple years, there's usually a sole reason that happens. Same goes with a pitcher who is suddenly great. That would be the batting averages on balls put in play. Now, Trout will always get singles that no one really should be able to, due to his speed and where he pulls or directs the ball but bad luck doesn't work one day a month, as we all know. Trout's BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) in 2013 was .376 and the year before .383 and in the minors, it was actually usually .400+. Now, this is really reaching for something that could make Trout seem human but it's just one of the few variables that could lead to something very improbable happen.
On the other side, the statistic most likely won't change because of the solid theory that Mike Trout is basically built like Hercules. When people ask Trout if he even lifts, he says "Yes, I lift the Angels out of last place with the Astros." Basically, Trouty has the skills where if any part of his game started to falter, he'd most likely be able to get right back to that line of production in no time. Really, I just have a hard time imagining any sort of decline and that's actually a bit unsettling as a fan of the club, the baseball gods are a cruel bunch. It would be horribly fitting if Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs became superstars and Trout wasn't hitting that well, getting hit in the head with a ball in the outfield like Jose Canseco and got thrown out at 2nd by Mike Napoli. I know a lot of the fans reading this are nodding their heads, it's been a few weird seasons to be an Angels fan.
Trout could be a better player with the new additions to the team and perhaps his fellow batters will hit even better than they did in 2013. It's a stretch but the addition of David Freese could be a savvy move, providing some unexpected protection. In a prediction I'll make, I believe that Kole Calhoun will be the second or third best hitter on the Halos in 2014 and I'm fairly confident about it. A monster year could be on the horizon for all three of these players and I think we can all rest easy knowing that at least one side of the game is taken care of. The bullpen is saved from my wrath for now.
It's becoming a lot less embarrassing to say you believe that this is the year, that perhaps Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton will get it together, the bullpen will hunker down and maybe, just maybe, the 2014 World Series Champions will be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. More than any other recent year, I can see it happening a lot clearer. I'm sure this will change after Joe Blanton is placed into the starting rotation but we all need to take what we can get. This is a solid team and I have no doubt in them at this point, including Mike Trout, doubters be damned.