Mike Trout reveals plan to overcome 2023 struggles beyond injury

After having the worst season since his rookie year, Mike Trout lays out the framework to get back to being an MVP-caliber player in 2024

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels / Masterpress/GettyImages

The days of Mike Trout being the undisputed best player in MLB might seem over... but he thinks differently.

While the talk throughout the spring around Trout has been about whether or not he should demand for a trade from a Los Angeles Angels team that might not be that good (again), not much onus has been put on his play. And, when it has been, much less of it has been on how he played outside of being injured, and if the decline of the 32-year-old is upon us.

For the season, Trout had a batting average of .263 and an OPS of .858, both the worst marks of his major league career since his rookie season. The three-time American League MVP struggled to get into a rhythm, struggling from the jump of the 2023 campaign: from April to June, he had the worst 41-game stretch of his career by having a .669 OPS, which had his batting average crater to .208 and his OBP to .324. He heated up to end June and start July, going on a 19-game stretch where his slash line was .299/.429/.552 with four home runs, nine RBI and a .981 OPS, but couldn't keep it going as he suffered a fracture on his left wrist on July 3. He ended up coming back in August but was shut down to start September as the Angels were out of the playoff race.

Is Mike Trouts decline already upon us or not? He doesn't think so

All of that leads to the million dolar question: were Trout's struggles a one-off, or is it a sign of things to come as he gets older? When asked, Trout, as if he would say otherwise, didn't buy into that notion.

"No, no, no. It's not that. I know what I'm doing wrong. I created a bad habit (sliding while batting, instead of keeping a firm base) in the last year or two I'm trying to get out of."

Because of that hole in his swing, he stated he "was under everything" because his hips would drop. To try to rectify that, Trout said he wants to get more plate appearances in Spring Training to get live in-game at-bats, as opposed to doing all of his work in the batting cage. He noted he wants 70 to 80 of them, which would be way over the 26 he had the spring of 2023.

Trout wants to get back to his MVP self, and the Angels more than ever need it. After Shohei Ohtani's exit, Anthony Rendon having injuries of his own and not being over the moon about baseball, and the Angels not making many improvements (per usual), the Angels might need that star power to even aspire to be a fringe Wild Card team.

Even then, it would be tough for them to do so in the tough AL West division they're in. For Trout himself, whether it's to elevate the Angels or show other contenders he's worth trading for, he's planted the seeds of having a bounce-back season.