Did we mention that Mike Trout is heating up? Earlier this week, the 21-year-old Angels phenom hit for the cycle against the Mariners, becoming the youngest player in American League history to do so. On Thursday, he walloped his eighth home run of the month and 10th of the season, and when I say walloped…
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The ESPN Home Run Tracker estimated that homer at 463 feet, making it the longest of Trout's major league career; this shot off Boston's Clay Buchholz last Aug. 28 was his previous high, while his 439-foot May 1 dinger off Oakland's Tommy Milone set his standard for this season. Amazingly, the homer only tied for the 11th-longest of the year, according to the Tracker's estimate; teammate Mark Trumbo and the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo are tied for first at 475 feet. Trout's average home run distance of 426.3 feet is good enough to rank fourth in what the Tracker calls its Golden Sledgehammer standings; Justin Upton is first at 427.4 feet, not a whole lot farther.
With his torrid May, Trout is now hitting .302/.378/.582 for an OPS within three points of last year's mark. The talk of him regressing is true — in that he appears to be regressing toward his true talent level. Including his 2011 stint, his career major league line is a very similar-looking .305/.378/.543. Trout's homer was one of four Los Angeles connected for off Royals starter (and former teammate) Ervin Santana in the Angels' 5-4 win. Santana's having a very weird season thus far. In nine starts totaling 63 innings — a tidy seven per start — he has put up a 3.14 ERA while allowing 10 homers but walking just nine hitters against 52 strikeouts. He allowed three homers in his first outing as a Royal on April 3, but yielded just three across his next seven starts before Thursday night's outburst. Overall, Santana's 1.3 walks per nine ranks second-best in the American League and his 5.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio is third but his 1.4 homers per nine is the ninth-worst. Teammate Jeremy Guthrie is first at 2.0 per nine — a mark Santana put up last year en route to a 5.16 ERA. His 4.02 FIP this year suggests some regression may be in store for him, but he's been more effective than many (this writer included) expected.