Mike Trout still producing on offense

AP Photo/David Kohl

Mike Trout is having another incredible season despite falling behind last year’s numbersA couple of weeks ago my colleague Mark Simon wrote about Mike Trout and his defensive shortcomings this season, but on the offensive side of the ball Trout has been one of the best in the game. His 4.2 Offensive WAR ranks tied for second in all of baseball with Chris Davis, behind just Miguel Cabrera.

Last night Trout went 4-for-4 with all four hits coming on pitches inside in the strike zone, the seventh time in his young career he’s reached four hits.

2012 tough to duplicate

Mike Trout Last 2 Seasons
Through 73 Games

This offseason there were plenty who expected some regression from Trout, but this wasn’t necessarily a knock on him – merely a realization of how rare a season Trout had in 2012.

Trout’s OPS is top ten in baseball, but it is down about 50 points from last year through 73 games when it sat at a gaudy 1.003. Part of the reason for the dip can be traced to how often he’s made hard contact. Last year at this point, 25 percent of his at-bats ended in a well-hit ball while this year that number is down a couple percentage points. That, along with a little less luck, has contributed to his batting average on balls in play dropping from .409 to .357.

No need for speed?

The most noticeable drop-off has been in steals. Trout has 16 bags, which is tied for eighth in baseball. But last year through this many games he had 31. Trout’s success rate on the base paths is only slightly down from 91 percent to 84 percent, but he’s attempted 15 fewer thefts.

Some may point to Trout putting on extra weight this offseason, but the bigger reason is likely that he’s spent 55 games batting second in the order this season and just 18 leading off. He might be more hesitant to run with Albert Pujols at-bat.

Tonight's matchup

Gerrit Cole (PIT) vs Jered Weaver (LAA)

The Los Angeles Angels face former UCLA ace Gerrit Cole tonight in an interleague matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole went to Orange Lutheran high school before becoming a Bruin where he starred before being drafted first overall by the Bucs in 2011.

Cole is looking to continue his dominance of California teams after picking up wins against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in his first two career starts.