With a walk in the first inning of Wednesday afternoon’s match with the Athletics, Mike Trout set a new Angels franchise record with a walk in 14 consecutive ballgames, per Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times. The record was previously held by Eddie Yost (June 14-28, 1961) and Albie Pearson (August 18-30, 1961).
Trout, of course, does it all, even drawing walks. He walked again in the third inning, giving him 82 free passes on the season. He has five more of those than strikeouts. Among players who have come to the plate at least 400 times this season, Trout, Joey Votto (116/71), Justin Turner (51/45), and Dustin Pedroia (42/42) are the only players with at least as many walks as strikeouts.
Trout entered Wednesday’s action batting .326/.463/.655 with 27 home runs, 61 RBI, 79 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 417 plate appearances. Despite missing a month and a half with a torn thumb ligament, he still has the third-highest WAR (6.2) in baseball, according to FanGraphs. He trails Jose Altuve (6.4) and Anthony Rendon (6.4). Giancarlo Stanton (6.0) and Joey Votto (6.0) are the only other players with at least 6 WAR.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.