The “Powell doctrine” mandates the use of overwhelming and decisive force in order to achieve the stated objective. Based on the press release I got a few minutes ago, MLB Network adheres to that doctrine when it comes to coverage of the Hall of Fame vote announcement on Monday:
The results of the 2012 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be announced on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com on Monday, January 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET as part of a two-hour announcement show … coverage will include interviews with any electees and be anchored by Matt Vasgersian with MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds, Hall of Fame award-winning baseball writer Peter Gammons, and Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci. Hall of Fame coverage and reaction will continue on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk and Hot Stove starting at 5:00 p.m. ET.
That’s a good three total hours of coverage with no fewer than nine talking heads. All to handle the induction of what will likely be one person, Barry Larkin. Who, if MLB Network is serious about its business, won’t himself be allowed to talk given that he’s employed by rival ESPN on “Baseball Tonight.”
Not that any of this is criticism. I love baseball and there’s so damn little of it right now. My cable company is awful and doesn’t carry MLB Network, but if it did I’d have it locked in there all day. If for no other reason than they’ll be showing lots of Barry Larkin highlights, and I miss him a lot.
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.