New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Look, there is no easy way to say this. The original plan was for this tidbit to slip into the Monday Morning Memo, but time was my enemy this day. Things would get weird if this factoid grew into its own post, yet here we are.

Instead, an introduction to a curious trend worth monitoring: Mike Trout, three true outcome superstar.

Three True Outcome hitters are generally big, slow, patient sluggers. Making contact is generally not the best offensive skill of most TTO guys. Adam Dunn is the TTO spirit animal, well he was in his heyday.

A few things had me thinking and so I decided to built a list of the top TTO guys of the second half. Just about a month old, most hitters are at or near 100 plate appearances since the All Star break. The list produces some surprises and some expected names, too.

Name Team PA H HR BB IBB SO TTO TTO rate
Mike Napoli Red Sox 88 15 3 12 1 32 47 53.4%
Chris Carter Astros 80 10 3 9 0 30 42 52.5%
Jason Castro Astros 89 22 2 11 0 32 45 50.6%
Ike Davis Mets 78 20 1 22 3 16 39 50.0%
Chris Davis Orioles 91 19 5 9 2 31 45 49.5%
Carlos Gomez Brewers 89 19 4 11 0 29 44 49.4%
Mike Trout Angels 104 28 5 24 4 22 51 49.0%
Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 96 17 6 18 3 22 46 47.9%
Jay Bruce Reds 91 20 5 9 2 29 43 47.3%
Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 94 16 3 16 0 25 44 46.8%

Okay, sure. Mike Napoli, Chris Carter, it all adds up. Ike Davis, he’s still alive? Wow. Chris Davis, of course. Wait, Mike Trout? Carlos Gomez?? MIKE TROUT???

For all the ink spilled over Trout’s improved strikeout rate, he’s actually striking out more than ever before in the second half. Based on little more than a hunch and my own observations, I’d Strikeout Trout is more likely to be real than No Strikeout Trout.

Based on the way he approaches and adjusts to breaking balls on the fly (Literally, he adjusts as they’re flying towards the plate. Uncommon and risky, thus the swing and miss in his game), a strikeout rate below league average over the long haul would be nothing short of a miracle.

His walk rate seems sustainable – maybe not 25% sustainable but Mike Trout, like many of the other hitters on this list, has a keen awareness of the strike zone. Teams are not afraid to pitch around the young outfielder and Trout, to his credit, doesn’t try to stop them.

Or it’s really nothing. Just a brief blip on the radar over 100 plate appearances. Mike Trout walks a lot and hits home runs and strikes out a bunch, but he also racks up singles and double, too. He’s a TTO guy in that the only outs he makes are strikeouts, perhaps.

Or maybe it was just an excuse to run that headline. ONLY TIME WILL TELL. (it’s the latter.)