Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun listened to an obviously frustrated Nick Markakis hold forth on the miserable season the Orioles are having at the plate.
Mostly it’s a matter of approach: “Sometimes, guys are going up there and it looks like they have no idea
what they’re doing . . . you need guys in there who have a plan,
who have a clue and who know how to execute that plan and get on base.”
And it’s not a coaching matter, Markakis says: “[Terry Crowley] has 110 percent nothing to do with the way we are going about our
business at the plate and on the field right now . . . If you go up there clueless, you’re going to come back [to the dugout]
clueless. It’s that simple.”
According to Zrebiec, Juan Samuel is in full agreement, so this isn’t a situation in which someone is lashing out. At least as far as management is concerned, Markakis is just telling it like it is.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.