CHICAGO -- Mike Trout struggled for about a three-week stretch in May, batting below .200 and striking out every three at-bats or so. Then he promptly went back to looking like one of the best hitters in baseball again, ultimately posting a .361/.471/.759 slash line in June en route to being named the American League's Player of the Month.
The key for the Angels' superstar center fielder: The front foot.
Specifically, getting it down early.
"Hitting is all about timing," said Trout, who entered Wednesday with an AL-best 1.020 OPS. "If your head's moving, or you're not still on contact, you're not going to succeed. You look at Albert [Pujols], [Miguel] Cabrera, they get their foot down. All the guys who hit the ball well, their foot's down, and at the point of contact, everything's still and their head's on the ball."
Trout has a high leg kick, and if he gets it down early enough, it's a lot easier for him to identify pitches and stay within the strike zone because he doesn't have as many moving parts when he's starting his swing.
The 22-year-old has known this for a while; he just wasn't able to execute it earlier this season and thus "wasn't seeing pitches that I usually see and I was swinging at pitches I normally don't swing at."
"For me, if I tell myself not to do too much and just take a nice, easy swing, it gets my foot down," Trout said. "And if I tell myself to try to go deep or hit it hard, my foot hangs out there longer trying to generate more power. But you don't need to. That's tough, but you just have to trust it, and it'll work."
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.Less