Mike Trout ‘probably’ won’t do Derby …
Mike Trout, the leading vote-getting in the American League as of Tuesday, looks primed to go to his third All-Star Game in as many years. But the superstar center fielder once again sounds reluctant to partake in the Home Run Derby, saying Tuesday that he “probably” wouldn’t if asked.
“I don’t know if I’d do it,” Trout said. “I don’t think [Mike] Scioscia would want me to do it.”
Trout is correct on that.
The Angels’ manager said participating is “totally a player’s decision, and it should be.” But his stance on the event hasn’t changed.
“I don’t like it,” Scioscia said. “I think it has great fan interest; I even like watching it. But when it’s one of your players doing it, not a fan. I don’t know if a player ever takes that many full-gorilla swings in that short of a time. It’s like a long-drive contest for a golfer who has to go out there and rely on touch. I don’t think they would like that.”
Scioscia’s outlook on the Home Run Derby is the opposite as that of Albert Pujols, who took part in the event in ’03, ’07 and ’09, and has never struggled in the second half because of it.
“For guys that haven’t done it, I encourage them to do it at least once,” Pujols, sporting a team-leading 14 homers, said in late April. “It’s awesome. It’s a good time. And you put on a good show for the fans. That’s what you do it for.”
Trout took part in a home-run derby while at the lower Class A level and said it “didn’t turn out too well.”
“I hit like two or three home runs,” Trout said, but he doesn’t believe it messed up his swing.
“I didn’t think about it much,” he added. “It’s for the fans, to have fun and try to hit some home runs. After the All-Star break, you get back to the basics anyways.”
Scioscia has had four of his players participate in the Home Run Derby since he took over as Angels manager in 2000, and two of them actually won.
In ’01, Troy Glaus was shutout at Safeco Field, then had a higher OPS in the second half (.922) than in the first (.877).
In ’03, Garret Anderson won, but had a lower OPS in the second half (.807) than in the first (.943).
In ’07, Vladimir Guerrero won and stayed at about the same pace (.962 OPS in the first half, .935 OPS in the second half).
In ’12, Mark Trumbo finished third in the Derby and slumped the rest of the way, going from a first-half OPS of .965 to a second-half OPS of .630.
Scioscia let them take part, but only begrudgingly.
“I would advise any one of our guys not to do it, just for the wear and tear it takes on your whole swing,” Scioscia said. “I enjoy watching it. It’s great fan interest. But let the other guys in the league do it.”