With Pujols out, Trout stepping up in big way

With Pujols out, Trout stepping up in big way

With Pujols out, Trout stepping up in big way

ST. PETERSBURG -- It's now been a month since Albert Pujols went down, eliminating a major asset when it comes to protecting Mike Trout in the batting order.

And the Angels' 22-year-old phenom hasn't skipped a beat.

Since Pujols suffered a partial tear of his plantar fascia on July 27, ultimately knocking him out for the remainder of the 2013 season, Trout has hit .360 with six homers -- including one that traveled 458 feet on Tuesday night -- and a 1.170 OPS heading into Wednesday's game.

Most impressive, perhaps, is the Major League-leading .531 on-base percentage he sports during that time. The second-place guy is Adrian Beltre, at .496.

Trout isn't getting many pitches to hit, and yet he still isn't expanding his strike zone.

"He's hitting the ball well, too, but there's no doubt about teams circling his name and not wanting him to be the guy that beats you," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Trout, who has drawn 28 walks over his previous 25 games. "Sometimes you need someone behind you to get your at-bats, get your swings, get your pitches to hit. That's why the depth of a lineup is important."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.