SEATTLE -- If there's one thing surprising about Mike Trout's historic rookie season -- besides, you know, how historic
it is -- it's the amount of home runs he's hit.
On Sunday, Trout hit No. 30 -- tying teammate Albert Pujols -- despite spending his first four weeks in the Minor Leagues and totaling only 23 homers in 286 career Minor League games. Trout has credited some of that to a more upright stance, a subtle tweak that has nonetheless given him more power and plate coverage.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't surprised by the home runs, though. He saw Trout blast homers to right-center field while showcasing himself at Angel Stadium as a 17-year-old.
He figured the power would eventually come.
"It's starting to develop," Scioscia said. "I don't think we need to make too much of it. I think you're seeing a guy who has the potential to drive the ball like he does. He's just been doing it with frequency that he thought he eventually would get to. But this guy, I mean, he's a hitter with power. And I think his [opposite-field] power is a difference-maker."
What makes Trout special is that he combines the home-run production with a .321 batting average, which he sported entering Monday's series opener against the Mariners, and a high walk rate (a team-leading 67, though he's also second on the team with 136 strikeouts).
The concern, perhaps, is that a 21-year-old who reaches 30 homers falls in love with the long ball, to the point where it diminishes his approach and, eventually, his on-base percentage.
Scioscia doesn't see that happening with Trout.
"I don't think he will because I think he feels that, too -- he's a hitter with power," Scioscia said. "He's not forcing home runs, he's taking them as they come and it's just a byproduct of him getting a good pitch. And he's really, really strong, he has a short, quick stroke, and he's squared his share up this year, for sure."