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OC Register: Angels’ Albert Pujols impressed by Mike Trout, who is off to a hot start


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Albert Pujols, who knows something about maintaining excellence for a decade, continues to be awed by Mike Trout.

Trout, a three-time MVP winner, is off to the best start of his career, carrying an OPS of 1.353 into Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. His previous best OPS for April was 1.151 in 2017.

To Pujols, what’s impressive is not that Trout is doing anything different, but that he’s doing the same thing.

“He doesn’t take anything for granted,” Pujols said before the Angels played on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas. “For a young player like that, who has had that kind of success, it’s really easy to shift the direction and say ‘I’ve got this figured out.’ Trout is different. He wants to get better every day. That’s what’s scary. He’s hungry. He wants to get better and wants to help this organization win.”

Pujols said he was particularly impressed that Trout had four hits on Monday, after he missed three-plus games because of a bruised elbow. Trout had barely swung the bat during those days off.

“The guy does something special every day,” Pujols said. “Who takes three days off and comes back and gets four hits? That’s not easy to do. It takes me a week to get four hits.”

Pujols said that Trout still asks questions about his approach to certain pitchers.

“That’s what’s so good,” Pujols said. “He wants to get better every day. And that’s really scary.”

Pujols, of course, put up offensive numbers even better than Trout’s over the first decade of his career, but since he came to the Angels he’s declined.

When asked about a potential decline for the 29-year-old Trout, Pujols said it’s inevitable, but still years away.

“I thought I was going to do it for the rest of my life, but it’s just impossible to do that, man,” said Pujols, 41. “I hope he can stay healthy. If he can stay healthy, he probably can carry that for a while. He eats really well. He trains hard. He takes care of his body. He doesn’t drink. The kid goes to bed and plays a lot of video games.”

HONORED

Pujols met former President George W. Bush while the Angels have been in the Dallas area as part of the celebration of Bush’s new book, in which Pujols is featured.

“Out Of Many, One,” is a book of 43 portraits of immigrants, accompanied by stories about their contributions to United States history and culture. Pujols was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the U.S. as a teenager.

“It’s really an honor, man,” Pujols said. “I’m really honored and thankful to show people that you can make it. It doesn’t matter what country you are from. To have a former President write a book and tell the stories, it was pretty impressive.”

ALSO

Catcher Max Stassi was activated after missing two weeks because of a sprained left thumb. Anthony Bemboom was optioned to make room. …

Outfielder Juan Lagares (strained left calf) continues to be on the verge of a return, but Manager Joe Maddon said they are taking extra precautions with him because “it’s such a sensitive injury that could reoccur.” When Lagares does return, there is no obvious corresponding move to create a spot for him. Reliever Ben Rowen and outfielder Scott Schebler are both out of options. …

The Angels are not rearranging their rotation or skipping anyone after Thursday’s off day, Maddon said. That means Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning and Dylan Bundy will pitch over the weekend in Seattle, followed by Shohei Ohtani, José Quintana and Alex Cobb in the first three games next week against the Tampa Bay Rays. …

Third baseman Anthony Rendon was dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 in the lineup on Wednesday because Maddon wanted to alternate righties and lefties throughout the lineup when facing a Rangers team that has six lefties in the bullpen. Maddon said it was not because Rendon was hitless in his first eight at-bats since coming off the injured list. …

Justin Upton and Pujols were both out of the lineup for routine days off Wednesday. Maddon said he chose to give them Wednesday off because they could then get two consecutive days off, including the scheduled off day on Thursday.

AP21117236491456.jpg?fit=620%2C9999px&ss
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, left, and center fielder Mike Trout stand on the field during warmups before a Monday’s game in Arlington, Texas. “The guy does something special every day,” Pujols said of Trout. “He wants to get better every day. And that’s really scary.” (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

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2 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

Pujols, of course, put up offensive numbers even better than Trout’s over the first decade of his career, but since he came to the Angels he’s declined.

Did he, though? If you look only at traditional stats, sure, but the first decade of the 21st century was a higher run-scoring context than the second decade, which means the following:

Pujols (as Cardinal): .328/.420/.617, 167 wRC+

Trout: .306/.419/.585, 173 wRC+

Pujols hit for a higher average, but that's just about it. Trout's wRC+ has been slightly higher, which means he's been a slightly better hitter.

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2 hours ago, Angelsjunky said:

Did he, though? If you look only at traditional stats, sure, but the first decade of the 21st century was a higher run-scoring context than the second decade, which means the following:

Pujols (as Cardinal): .328/.420/.617, 167 wRC+

Trout: .306/.419/.585, 173 wRC+

Pujols hit for a higher average, but that's just about it. Trout's wRC+ has been slightly higher, which means he's been a slightly better hitter.

Trout put up excellent slash lines in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018. What's even more impressive about those slash lines in those five seasons? All of those five seasons were excellent years to pitch in. If Trout had played in his prime from 2001-2010, his career slash line up to his first 10 seasons would be like .325/.450/.630. A lot of hitters look like Trout at the plate during the steroids era. Think of quarterback numbers in the NFL these days and compare it to before the league went soft. A lot of quarterbacks these days who are just solid look great (just by numbers) like Montana, Marino, just to name a few. 

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