After a dismal 2013 season, the Los Angeles Angels need to get serious in 2014 or some of their massive moves will look ridiculous, and their high profile players will be looking to find a better chance at a ring with a team like the New York Yankees or even the Boston Red Sox.
Even worse, one of the best chances for a ring lies just a bit closer to downtown Los Angeles in Chavez Ravine where the Los Angeles Dodgers will be itching for postseason success with money flowing much easier than the water in Southern California.
The best player on the otherwise mediocre Angels last year was Mike Trout. In fact, he may have been the best all-around player in the league last season. So what would Trout need to do in this Spring Training to better set up for a season with the Angels following a season he already dominated?
Trout, despite being super young, needs to become the leader on the Angels. He has earned the right, even over Albert Pujols who has all but been a bust since joining in the Angels. Pujols is healthy this season, but it’s a crap shoot on what he’ll actually do. Trout is almost a given now. He’s proven hard-nosed player who’s consistently healthy and crazy productive. It’s time for Trout to demand the same from his team.
According to the Angels manager Mike Scioscia, Trout will continue to bat second in the lineup. He’ll be needing proper backup from Pujols. If Trout bats first, he’ll walk a ton despite his base-stealing prowess. The key to Trout’s success in 2014 will be finding a solid leadoff hitter to go in front of him, giving him someone to bring in for runs.
Trout’s on base percentage was no joke at .432, but compared to his hitting, his RBIs should be way higher. Trout was tied for 17th in RBIs in 2013. Not too shabby by any means. However, when you’re fifth in hits, sixth in triples, third in on base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage and fourth in batting average, you should be in the top five in RBIs. That’s the fault of his teammates.
The first couple months of the Angels’ season will set the tone for what, on paper at least, should be much better than 2013. That starts with their Spring Training, and Mike Trout needs to lead the Angels to success from the beginning, both in statistics and in leadership.