Outfielder falls homer shy of first 30-30 season since 2012
By Austin Laymance
ANAHEIM -- For Angels manager Mike Scioscia, there's no doubt in his mind that Mike Trout deserves to be recognized as the American League's Most Valuable Player.
"This guy is the MVP," Scioscia said after his team wrapped up the 2016 season with an 8-1 win over the Astros. "I don't think there's any question. I don't know of anybody that has done as much as he's done on the field."
Trout put the final touches on another outstanding season with his 100th RBI and 30th stolen base. He finished the year with a .315 average and .550 slugging percentage, to go along with 29 home runs, 32 doubles, five triples and 173 hits overall.
Trout led the Majors with 123 runs, 116 walks and a .441 on-base percentage. He walked twice on Sunday and his season total is an Angels franchise record. Trout's .991 OPS tied for the best of his career and ranked second in the big leagues.
So how does Trout feel about the MVP talk? The votes will be cast by 30 baseball writers before the first postseason game.
"Season's over, and obviously we'll find out in a few months," Trout said. "I prepared myself coming into spring and have a good year, and it's what it is. A lot of guys are asking me about it. I can't think about that. Just go in the offseason and see what happens."
Trout reached the 100-RBI mark for the second time in the last three years with a single to right in the sixth to score Nick Buss. Trout was then removed for a pinch-runner and walked off the field to a standing ovation.
In the first inning, Trout walked and then stole second base. He's the first player in baseball history with three seasons of 25 homers and 30 steals before his age-25 season.
Scioscia compared Trout to the Energizer Bunny.
"He just keeps going," Scioscia said. "He doesn't give in to anything. ... Mike is no doubt in my mind the MVP."
Unfortunately, Trout fell one homer shy of the first 30-homer, 30-steal season since he and Ryan Braun did so in 2012. A home run would have made Trout the first Angels player to pair 100 RBIs with a 30-30 season.
"I was definitely thinking about it the whole game," Trout said of needing another homer.
Trout's 30 steals are his most since '13, when he swiped 33 bases. He was caught stealing seven times for an 81 percent success rate.
Trout's career high for steals is 49 in '12, his second year in the Majors. He had 33 stolen bases in '13 but missed 30-30 by three homers. Then, though he hit 36 homers in '14 and 41 in '15, his stolen-base totals dipped to 16 and 11, respectively.
Trout said stealing more bases was his most satisfying statistic this year.
"They were definitely up," Trout said. "I wanted to come in and steal 30, steal more than 30, and I got to 30."
In addition to his gaudy offensive numbers, Trout played his usual great defense at a premier position in center field and recorded eight outfield assists.
So what's next for Trout as he heads back to New Jersey for the offseason?
"I just got my puppy," Trout said, "so pretty happy about that."
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.