When Mike Trout reported to Spring Training, ready to follow-up one of the finest all-around seasons in baseball history, he did so carrying a few extra pounds. Because he just came off one of the finest seasons in baseball history, everybody sort of freaked out.
There were a typical amount of jokes and jibes and fantasy lunatics worried about his stolen base totals. While Trout tried to downplay his weight-gain, it still attracted a great deal of undue attention. Which it certainly does not deserve.
Like his American League Rookie of the Year counterpart, Bryce Harper showed up to camp weighing more than previously expected. Both players prepared for the coming season by building up bulk and muscle, knowing that 162 grind of the season is sure to melt away some pounds as well as the time required to re-build muscle mass.
But that doesn`t make a good story. “Rookie of the Year gets fat on success” is a terrific story. But it ain’t the case.
Jerry Crasnick got some light-hearted quotes from Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the topic of Trout’s weight today, with the thick former catcher making particular mention of Trout’s age as a mitigating factor:
“He’s 21 now, so the weight is not a concern,” Scioscia said. “You don’t know how much a body is going to fill out. He’s running great. He feels great. He’s not too far from where he played last year. Everything he has is muscle. His body [composition] is still terrific, from what the trainers tell me.
“If a player is 28 and he comes in a little heavier, it’s probably more of a concern. These young kids in our lineup are still growing — particularly the kids from Latin America. They’ll start to fill out quicker because of diets and strength and conditioning.”
Trout told reporters at the start of camp that he expects to lose 5-10 pounds during Spring Training alone, though it isn’t as though he plans to work himself into shape.
Joked Scioscia: “Mike had this viral thing last year and he was 20 pounds lighter. I wish some of us couldget it.” #angels
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 26, 2013
It wasn’t even two months ago when Alden Gonzalez produced a terrific profile of Trout, told through lens of his home town in Southern New Jersey. The piece highlighted some of the changes in Trout from smalltown Jersey teen to megastar of the baseball world – one of the key changes for Trout? His diet.
In anticipation for [Trout following his miraculous rookie season], Debbie put her foot down this New Year: No more soda for Mike. He used to drink about five a day. Now it’s zero.
“I’ve never seen him this way,” Jeff says. “He’s eating better, salads and stuff. He’s really trimmed down and he looks good. He’s really focused. I think he’s ready to go.”
Taking the word of a proud mother as gospel is foolish but the new look Trout might just be a more muscle-bound character, rather than a fat kid trying to find his way.
So let’s stop worrying about Mike Trout’s weight. Let’s never discuss it again, unless it is in a “will Mike Trout go 50-50 in 2013″ context. Because this is why we cannot have nice things, world. Let Mike Trout bulk up at his leisure. After all the entertainment value he provided last year, he earned the benefit of the doubt from me.