With multiple MVP awards, Trout just wants to play postseason baseball
TORONTO - Mike Trout already has two American League MVP awards and another three top-two finishes. There are five Silver Sluggers and an AL Rookie of the Year award sitting on his mantle. He's 26 years old.
Trout is the best player in the majors. He's well on his way to Cooperstown. But there's one thing that's eluded the Los Angeles Angels superstar throughout his eight-year career: October success.
"I think that's everybody's goal, to get to the playoffs and do some damage and go far in October," Trout told theScore in the visitor's clubhouse at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. "My competitiveness, I want to win, that's what motivates me."
Trout has appeared in just three playoff games in his career and they came back in 2014 when he was 22 years old. He went 1-for-12 with a home run as the Angels were swept by the Kansas City Royals. The individual awards are certainly appreciated and Trout says he is honored with every MVP distinction he receives, but it's obvious that getting the Angels back to the postseason is his top priority.
"If you get voted Most Valuable Player, it makes you feel good," Trout said. "It's a lot of hard work that goes into it. (But) the biggest thing is just trying to get to the playoffs. Just trying to do as much as you can to help your team win and at the end of the year if you're MVP, it's a bonus."
Trout is certainly in the conversation for the MVP award again this season - if not the front-runner. He sits second in the majors in WAR behind Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career.
While there's been no shortage of stories written about Trout's greatness, he remains humble and almost oblivious to the fact he's already one of the finest to ever take the field. When asked if he pays any attention to what is being written, Trout says it's not something he focuses on.
"I just go out there and play. I don't really read that stuff too much," Trout said. "I go out there and prepare myself for the game and just play. I think if you start thinking about going out and trying to do so much, that's when you get in trouble.
"I try to be the best player on the field at all times. If I come in here with the mentality of always trying to get better offensively and defensively then it will help me throughout the whole year."
Trout's talents have been somewhat wasted in Los Angeles, but after the club missed the postseason in each of the last three years, the Angels' front office loaded up this winter to try to give its star the supporting cast needed to reach the playoffs. While there's been some early-season inconsistency, Los Angeles sits 28-22 heading into a weekend series with the New York Yankees, just two games out of a playoff spot.
Trout has made good use of the relationships with new teammates Ian Kinsler, Zack Cozart, Chris Young, and Shohei Ohtani, as well as leaning on other veterans in the clubhouse such as Albert Pujols and Justin Upton. Despite his own countless tools and strengths, Trout says he uses all the resources available when trying to become the best player possible.
"We talk, for sure. That's why we're a team. We help each other out, we build friendships, a big family in here," Trout said. "We talk midgame, see where we're at, see what we got, and we help each other out. It is (important to learn from others). That's why I am like that. Guys will come up and ask me what I saw and if I can give that to them they'll give it back to me. It goes a long way in this game and we're all here to help each other."
One of those newcomers is Young, and it didn't take long to notice Trout's willingness to always try and get better.
"(Trout's) trying to improve at all times," Young told theScore. "(He already) has an extremely high ceiling coming out of the gate. When you see a player and you think they can't get any better, they still find a way to continue to excel and grow as a player.
"I first met him as a rookie in the league, and he's still a humble guy, still trying to learn. I watch him and Pujols talk back and forth about hitting and Pujols is still able to tell him tips and help him out when he needs to make adjustments and he's able to apply those changes and make those adjustments quicker than anybody else."