Trout: Winning second MVP is 'surreal'
Mike Trout didn't just run away from the rest of the American League in winning his second Most Valuable Player award on Thursday night.
He left conventional wisdom in the dust, too.
Trout, the Los Angeles Angeles centerfielder and 2009 graduate of Millville High School, seemed as surprised as anybody when he learned of the honor during a live announcement on MLB Network.
"I'm speechless, man," Trout said moments later in an interview from his parents' home in Cumberland County.
Trout seemed to agree with many baseball experts that he was a longshot to win the MVP after the Angels finished far out of the playoff race, with a 78-84 record good for fourth place in the American League's West Division.
In a conference call with reporters about an hour later, Trout used the word "surreal" three times and said he was "really surprised" to win the award.
"You hear all the talk," Trout said. "I was asked about it so many times, 'With the team struggling, what does that do to your MVP chances?'"
Trout became the first player in either league to win the MVP while playing for a team with a losing record since the Texas Rangers' Alex Rodriguez captured the award in 2003.
In a vote of 30 members of the Baseball Writers of America, Trout collected 19 first-place votes and 356 points to outdistance the two other finalists, Boston Red Sox rightfielder Mookie Betts and Houston Astros second baseball Jose Altuve.
Betts received nine first-place votes and finished with 311 points.
Trout, 25, has finished first or second in the MVP voting in each of his first five full major-league seasons. He is the first player to finish that high in the balloting five years in a row since Barry Bonds from 1996-2000.
Trout put together such an impressive blend of power, speed, plate discipline and defensive excellence this season that the voters couldn't hold the Angels' struggles against him.
Trout led the American League in runs (123), on-base-percentage (.441) and walks (116).
Trout batted .315 with 29 home runs, 100 RBIs, 30 steals and an OPS (on-base-plus-slugging-average) of .991.
In the analytical category of WAR (wins above replacement), Trout led baseball with a mark of 10.6. That means he was worth 10.6 wins more than an average centerfielder.
Trout said he thought his past season was his "biggest one" and felt he "put everything together."
Trout seemed genuinely overcome with emotion when he learned of his award.
"It humbles you," Trout said in the conference call. "It's an unbelievable honor. Just to be in the conversation, it's surreal.
"It was just a little bit ago I was just a little high school player."
Millville coach Roy Hallenbeck, who coached Trout in high school, was struck by his former star's emotional reaction.
"He's not a guy who shows a lot of emotion," Hallenbeck said. "But he looked like a guy who was surprised, really surprised. You could see how much it meant to him."
Trout is laid-back and laconic, a Cumberland County kid through and through. But he admitted the honor made him feel a bit overwhelmed.
"It's a feeling I can't explain," Trout said. "When you heard your name, see your family, hear everybody cheering, It's pretty cool . . . You pinch yourself. You think about all the hard work that went into it.
"It's just a surreal moment. It's nothing I can really explain."
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