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Sports Illustrated has long documented Mike Trout's rise through Major League Baseball. Take a look back at SI's best coverage.

By Charlotte Carroll
March 19, 2019

Star outfielder Mike Trout is finalizing a 12-year contract extension worth more than $430 million with the Angels, which would be the largest extension in professional sports history. 

The deal would put Trout ahead of Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper who signed an at-the-time, record 10-year, $330 million deal with Philadelphia. Trout's extension would add an extra 10 years to his current contract that expires in 2020. He signed the six-year, $144.5 million deal in 2014. 

While Trout, 27, is finally getting paid, Sports Illustrated has long documented his rise through Major League Baseball throughout the years. SI writers Tom Verducci and Ben Reiter have been following Trout since his rookie season. 

Take a look back at some of SI's best on Trout:

In July 2012, Reiter looked at why so many clubs passed on Trout, who went at No. 25 in the 2009 MLB draft. As Reiter pointed out watching Trout in motion, "This is something that will change a franchise." How right he was. 

In August 2012, Verducci took stock of Trout's rookie season. The 21-year-old dazzled teammates, fans and pitchers as soon as he arrived, inspiring a conversation of where he belongs among the baseball greats despite his young age. It also left every other front office wondering how they missed the future of baseball.

In September 2013, Verducci declared Trout, who had just turned 22, as the game's best young player since Ted Williams starred in the American League in 1939 and '40. Verducci put him ahead of Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and everyone else since then.

In May 2014, Verducci looked at how Trout, who was 22 at the time, was already dominating as the game's best player. With that in mind, Verducci raised the question of what Trout's prime years could look lile. 

In April 2015, Tom Verducci interviewed Albert Pujols—winner of three MVPs and Rookie of the Year by age 29—who declared Trout was better than he was at that age. 

In August 2016, Verducci wrote about Trout's lack of celebrity. Verducci examined how Trout was seemingly "born at the wrong time" where the national media gaze is placed elsewhere on other pro athletes. In 2018, ESPN ranked Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Lionel Messi as the world's biggest names in sports in its list of the top 100. Trout did not make the list, and no other baseball player cracked the top 100.

SI ranked Trout at No. 1. on the list of MLB's 2019 best players. The ranking came as no surprise as he is considered the game's best. Last season, he set career highs in on-base percentage (.460, his third straight year above .440), home runs (39), walks (122) and OPS+ (199).

In February 2019, Verducci looked at how the Angels are wasting the greatness of Trout. The reasoning was a combination of Los Angeles not winning a playoff game since he debuted in 2011 and the team not providing him with players to get on base before he works his magic.

In March 2019, Verducci anaylized Trout's record-breaking contract. He explained how the extension is a statement on the decline of free agency and how owners have regained leverage over players.

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