Trout gets All-Star start in New York
Becomes first Angels position player to start since 2007
ANAHEIM -- Some would reference the proverbial sophomore slump, and it angered Mike Trout. "I don't believe in the sophomore slump," the 21-year-old phenom would say in the spring leading up to a much-anticipated 2013 season, often bringing up the term voluntarily.
Then Saturday came. The All-Stars were announced. And though Trout's inclusion in the American League starting lineup was never in doubt, it served as somewhat of a reminder to that Spring Training storyline he quickly trounced.
Remember that whole sophomore slump thing?
"I don't worry about sophomore slumps," Trout said again, this time minutes after officially being named to his second straight All-Star team. "Next year it's probably going to be like a junior slump. You guys will come up with something. I just go out there and play and the numbers will be there at the end of the year."
The numbers are there now, with a .314/.390/.538 slash line that's not far off from where he was through his first 85 games of last year -- .349/.411/.602 -- and a 4.7 Wins Above Replacement that ranks second only to Miguel Cabrera in the AL. Now, Trout will join center fielder Adam Jones of the Orioles and right fielder Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays in Tigers skipper Jim Leyland's lineup.
Trout is the first Angels position player to start an All-Star Game since Vladimir Guerrero in 2007 -- the last of a run of four consecutive starts for him -- and the youngest AL position player to do so since Ivan Rodriguez in 1993.
"It feels good," Trout said. "I'm just happy to be a part of something special. Making the All-Star Game, it feels great."
Trout was the only one on the Angels (41-45) to make the team, which is pretty surreal when you consider the star power and expectations on the club he stars for.
Josh Hamilton (.227/.288/.398 despite a 10-game hitting streak) and Albert Pujols (.244/.317/.416 while batting leg ailments) never came close, marking the first time since 2002 that neither have been All-Stars. Jered Weaver (out for more than seven weeks with a broken left elbow) snapped a run of three straight trips to the All-Star Game.
And Howie Kendrick didn't make it despite posting a .317/.360/.473 slash line while being the Angels' second-best player of the first half. The Yankees' Robinson Cano (.292/.371/.529) is the starter, the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia (.323/.404/.445) and the Indians' Jason Kipnis (.300/.385/.531) are on the bench, and five relievers are the Final Vote representatives.
"I'm still going to go out and play," Kendrick said. "That's all you can do. There's a lot of great players in the league, a lot of great second basemen. Pedroia's got a great game, man. You have to respect that. I know him pretty well, just from playing against him, and I've spent some time with him in the offseason. He deserves it, just like Cano deserves it, too. Those guys are great players. Maybe next year."
From now until Thursday at 1 p.m. PT, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. Fans can choose between NL candidates Yasiel Puig, Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez and Hunter Pence, and AL candidates Joaquin Benoit, Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16, and MLB.com will have extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Trout and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper are the third pair of players under age 22 to start the same All-Star Game. The other two were Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle in 1953, and Al Kaline and Frank Robinson in '56.
Citi Field is about a three-hour drive from Trout's roots in Millville, N.J. He's never been at the ballpark, besides shooting a commercial for Subway there this offseason, and he's going to limit tickets to a handful of his closest family and friends. All the others -- and there could be hundreds making the trek from South New Jersey -- will be on their own.
What's Trout looking forward to most?
"I get to see Torii again," Trout said of his mentor, former Angels and current Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who made it as a reserve thanks to a .303 batting average. "That's really cool. I was really pulling for him to get the cycle today."
Trout, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up MVP, ranked fourth in fan voting in the AL with 6,771,745, trailing only Chris Davis of the Orioles (8,272,243), Cabrera (8,013,874) and Jones (6,793,577).
Trout is the youngest Angels player to make the All-Star team twice and the first since infielder Dave Chalk in 1974-75 to be named an All-Star in each of his first two full seasons in the big leagues. He's the first Angels player with 55 RBIs and 20 stolen bases prior to the All-Star break, and he's the only player age 21 or younger in AL history to record 10 homers and 20 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
And he's done that twice.
"There's no doubt he's an All-Star," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He'll be an All-Star for years to come, and he's worked hard to put himself in that elite group."
At last year's All-Star Game in Kansas City, Trout entered in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement for Hamilton and went 1-for-1 with a walk and a stolen base, making him the third player to record a hit in the All-Star Game before his 21st birthday.
At around this point last year, Trout was barely into his third month in the big leagues and there was plenty of talk about whether the Angels' dynamic center fielder deserved make the team.
This year, there was never any doubt.
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.