What if Mike Trout Has a Sophomore Slump?

By Bryan Lutz
Tom Szczerbowski – USA TODAY Sports

Despite what you or what the BBWAA said last season, Mike Trout was the most valuable player in all of baseball. It’s not really a matter of opinion, it’s an absolute fact. Where the opinion comes into play is what makes a player more valuable, but that whole debate is over and done with.

The thing I have wondering, however, is what if Trout is actually not a cyborg and has a sophomore slump? For the past few seasons, I have noticed a lot of players who have dominated in their rookie season, only to come crashing back down to earth in the following year. I think the best example of this could be Jason Heyward, who was also highly touted entering the Major Leagues. In his rookie season, Heyward had an .849 OPS. In his sophomore season, however, Heyward’s OPS dropped a whopping .141 points.

I have a hard time believing Trout will fall off the face of the planet like Heyward did in his sophomore season, but it’s also very likely we will see Trout have an .800 OPS or lower. And if he does have a sophomore slump of sorts, how much will it cost the Los Angeles Angels?

Ever since the Angels signed Josh Hamilton, it seems like everyone has given the Angels the division title. But what many are not accounting for is that Torii Hunter matched Hamilton’s production last season, and Trout was responsible for ten of the Angels’ wins. Well, it’s safe to assume Trout won’t have another 10-win season, unless he truly is a cyborg, and Hamilton will have to stay healthy and perform well enough to earn five wins, something he has only done once in his career.

The Angels might not be as good as a lot of people think. There are a lot of wins that are not accounted for heading into 2013. Sure, they may be the paper champions, but just ask the Los Angeles Lakers about how much being the paper champion matters.

If Trout does have a sophomore slump, it could cost the Angels as much as five wins, which is a figure that the great Peter Bourjos can’t even reach. And those wins might be the difference in a playoff spot.

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