Mike Trout wants to take a swipe at something else this season – stealing bases, the way he once did.
The Los Angeles Angels’ do-everything star got off to a fast start in his 2012 AL rookie-of-the-year season with 49 steals. His totals have gone down every year since, from 33 in 40 tries in 2013, to 16 and then just 11 last year while being caught seven times.
“It’s definitely one of the personal goals I want to get back to,” Trout said Wednesday. “Just getting my confidence back. The last couple years my confidence has been down, not getting good jumps, not getting good reads, just getting back to the way I used to be. I’m just trying to get on second base so Albert [Pujols] can drive me in.”
He gets feedback about what Pujols wants from Trout as a runner when the slugger is in the batter’s box and said, “We’re on the same page, for sure.”
Before taking the field for L.A.’s first full-squad workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the 24-year-old Trout said he plans to work before and after practice with the coaches on stealing. Former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will be involved with the effort given his expertise in the running game.
“A lot of it comes down really on Mike’s evolution and getting that confidence back,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Mike has a lot on his plate, he does so many things well. He does have the ability to steal bases. He’s shown that. Hopefully, he’s going to be more comfortable with getting his jumps. We feel he will be. It’s part of what he can bring. We’re not going to put a number on it, but I think he has more potential in that one area.”
Scioscia said there’s “no doubt” Trout can be a 30-30 performer with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases – and perhaps even a 40-40 guy.
“It doesn’t matter what my numbers are as long as we’re winning,” Trout said.
Trout was the runner-up to Toronto’s Josh Donaldson last year in the AL MVP voting. And the Angels don’t want Trout trying so hard to make things happen on the basepaths that it backfires.
As of now, there isn’t concern about Trout facing more wear and tear on his body.
“Last year, there was no doubt he tried to force a couple things and then had to readjust,” Scioscia said. “He absolutely has the ability to be 40-40 possibly. We’re going to let those numbers just fall into place. Wherever they are, they are. It’s not like we woke up today and said, ‘Hey, you better start running more.’ It’s a process. Last year, we talked about it.”
Trout batted .299 with a career-best 41 homers and 90 RBIs last year. He spent the off-season with an interesting routine of working out mostly in the evenings from 8:30-10:30 after dinner, then heading to bed. The 2014 AL MVP weighed in Tuesday at 239, his same playing weight from 2015.
“I just like to work out at night,” he said. “I’ve always done that. It’s just I do a lot of things during the day and my nights are free so I started to work out at night.”
Trout also took some time to hunt, fish, play a little golf and work on his passion as an amateur meteorologist. He would stay up all night monitoring weather patterns, causing his girlfriend to question his sanity.
“I like this stuff, man,” he said. “I like thunderstorms. Obviously, tornadoes are bad because they wipe out towns and cities. I enjoy watching them. My dad got me into it when I was a kid.”
Whatever Trout accomplishes with his running, along with everything else he does on the diamond, his top priority is leading the Angels back to the playoffs.
The Angels finished third in the AL West at 85-77 and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
“Clean slate. Obviously, we didn’t reach our goals last year and our goal this year is obviously to get to the playoffs. Day One starts today,” Trout said. “We can’t take off a few weeks after opening day starts and slack off a little bit and get ourselves in a hole. … We’ve got one thing on our minds, to win and get to the playoffs. If we don’t make the playoffs, it’s a failure.”Report Typo/Error