After almost a decade in Major League Baseball, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has a robust resume, one that could potentially lead to an enshrinement in Cooperstown, but while he’s earned all sorts of achievements, on July 30 he received his most important: becoming a father. And since his return, the three-time Most Valuable Player winner has hit the snot out of the ball.
Trout started this bizarre shortened 60-game season ice cold, hitting just one home run and four RBI – all of which came in the same contest – during the first six games of the season. Blame it on the lack of a typical preseason, worrying over the potential of a COVID-19 spread in the locker room or his mind being preoccupied with his wife’s childbirth, Trout welcomed his son into the world and then took some much-needed time off – but as Trout spent time with his family, his team fell further in the standings, at 3-7.
Since his return, however, Trout has become one of the hottest hitters in the league. Call it “dad strength” or whatever you want, the 29-year-old has six home runs and 10 RBI in seven games, all while hitting .367 with an OPS of 1.373. Two of those home runs came in Monday night’s impressive 10-9 win over the white hot Oakland A’s, who rattled off nine wins in a row prior to the contest. But the Angels’ woes have continued as a team, winning three games since Trout’s return and sitting at the bottom of the American League’s Western Division, already six games out of first place.
So, what sparked the hot streak for one of this era’s greatest players? Manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com what he thinks lead to Trout’s hot bat:
“He’s more relaxed,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He had such a big concern of him and his wife regarding the birth and the virus and everything else surrounding it, so he’s coming out the other side of that. He’s playing with more mental freedom, and just like Rendon, he can stay hot.”
If Trout can ride this hot streak a little longer, during a shortened season, he could be poised for another AL MVP nod, as he currently sits one home run and five RBI off the league’s leaders. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. As for whether he thinks becoming a father has improved his game, well he’s not 100 percent sure.
“People ask me about this dad power, and I guess it’s a thing,” Trout laughingly told MLB.com. “But there’s no better feeling than being a father.”