Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Mike Trout turned down the opportunity to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby, and it was the right decision to be made. It was a quick and simple choice for Trout, and it all comes down to one factor: His swing.
It is a common fear that most players have if they take part in the event, which was even pointed out this week by the two-time reigning AL MVP Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who stated that he didn’t want to “mess” with his swing and added he’s “got enough issues.”
Trout also does not have to look far to see the effects of the Home Run Derby on a player as his former teammate Mark Trumbo experienced that very same issue in the second half of the 2012 season. Trumbo had entered the All-Star break that year after an impressive first half that earned him his first All-Star Game selection as he was batting .306 with 22 home runs and 57 RBIs. But in the second half of the season, his numbers took a steep plummet as he batted just .227 with 10 home runs, 38 RBIs and struck out a team-high 88 times in 67 games played. This was a significant drop off in the home run department as he went from hitting a long ball every 14.2 at-bats in the first half of the season to every 27.3 at-bats in the second half of the year.
Although Trumbo has since denied the Home Run Derby having an effect on his swing, there remains the fact that it has been a legitimate concern and one of the primary reasons why players have hesitated to participate in the contest over the years. This is not stating that it is the sole reason for the drop off in production and power, but rather a contributing factor to the lack of it. Trout will be coming off a solid first half of the year as he is batting .302 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs, which are numbers that project him to finish with career-best 36 home runs and 116 RBIs at season’s end.
Yes, it would have been nice to see Trout take part in the Home Run Derby alongside fellow phenomenon outfielder Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but at this points the 22-year-old has eyes set on a bigger aspirations, like getting to the postseason for the first time in his career. So, as the Home Run Derby is set to take place next Monday, Trout will be watching the event rather than participating in it. It was right choice for him heading forward in the second half of the season.