King Fish: Talking Shop With Mike Trout

The Angels’ wonderboy opens up about baseball season so far.

The Angels’ wonderboy opens up about baseball season so far.

Photo: Jeff Gross / Getty Images Sport | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

Twelve months ago, Mike Trout was a 20-year-old prospect playing center field for the Salt Lake Bees in the Pacific Coast League, just waiting for a taste of life in the show. He didn’t have to wait long, torching Triple-A pitching with a .403 batting average before the Angels called him up to the Majors on April 28. And then he just kept going, putting together the greatest rookie season in history, the greatest season by a guy who couldn’t legally drink a beer, and one of the best seasons period, regardless of age. He was the first player in major league history with 30 homers, 45 stolen bases, and 125 runs scored. He also hit .326 and played Gold Glove-caliber defense, and it took Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown to keep him from being the youngest MVP ever (and many observers thought Trout should have won anyway.) So how’s a young guy expected to follow up such a historic campaign? We talked to Trout about the expectations, his MVP teammates, and the Angels’ rough start.

I know it’s early, but how do you feel about the season so far?

The first week or so we’ve had some rough times. And we just just lost Jered Weaver for four to six weeks, so that’s definitely not going to help. Now we’re just happy to be playing at home again.

You started last year in the minors, so how was it to participate in opening day?

It’s been a great experience so far, being a part of opening day, but the one thing on my mind is helping us get to the post-season. That’s been my goal since I was a kid watching the playoffs on TV, and thinking what a blast it would be to get there.

What was your team growing up in New Jersey?

The Philadelphia Phillies, but my favorite player was Derek Jeter. Meeting and playing against him was such an incredible feeling. I hit a double, so I got to talk to him when I was on second base. Just growing up watching him play, and then playing against him is pretty surreal.

You’re a rare five-tool player. Is there one skill your proudest of? Fielding, speed, power, average, arm?

I like running, you know? Speed is a big favorite of mine and it’s definitely fun.

Are you the fastest guy in the Majors?

I don’t know about that. There’s a lot of fast guys and I’m sure not going to race them! It’s tough to say.

How do you adjust to the grind of playing a 162-game season? It must be tough.

It’s just a matter of trying to keep healthy and keep your body ready for games. I think the biggest thing is eating healthy. For me, if I start eating poorly I’ll feel sore the next day, and it’s tough when you’re on the road, traveling all over. I’m a big Subway guy, because it’s healthy and it’ll fill me up.

Now that the Dodgers are spending so much money, is there a big LA rivalry brewing? 

There is definitely some competition. It’s something we look forward to, playing the Dodgers each year, with all their fans. But we have a lot of fans too.

This year you’ve got both Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the lineup. How is it playing with two MVPs?

It’s fun to watch them, and once everyone starts feeling good, it should be great. It’s fun to get on base and see what they’re going to do.

What did you think of the way Rangers fans welcomed Hamilton back last week?

Well, when you look at what he did in his five years there, winning a World Series and the numbers he put up, the reaction was a little weird. But that’s baseball. 

What was it like for you last year?

You know, I just went up there and played. The whole thing seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. But it was definitely fun to be a part of.

Want more Maxim sports interviews?

Check out our chat with Carmelo Anthony and Felice Herrig