Angels' Mike Trout knows he has much room for improvement despite AL MVP award



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TEMPE, Arizona — Mike Trout knows he has a lot to work on despite his first AL MVP award.

Now 23, Trout was a unanimous pick as MVP after finishing second to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in each of the previous two years.

While he hit .287 with 36 homers and 111 RBIs, he led the AL in strikeouts with 184 and his stolen-base total dropped to 16 from 49 in his rookie season and 33 in 2013. Then he went 1 for 12 as the Angels were swept by Kansas City in an AL Division Series.

"It was a terrible feeling," Trout said Wednesday after arriving at spring training. "This year we don't want to have that feeling. We want to get back into the playoffs and make a run at it."

Trout's walks dropped from 110 in 2013 to 83, and his on-base percentage fell from .432 to .377.

"Plain and simple, I was chasing the high pitch. Everyone knows that," Trout said. "The majority of the time they were balls. I was chasing them. Obviously, you don't want to strike out. I just want to put the ball in play more and let my legs get me a few more hits."

One of baseball's most dynamic young players, Trout attempted just 18 steals last year, down from 54 as a rookie.

"I think Mike is going to steal as many bases that are available," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have to pick your spots. I don't think there is a guy in baseball that had more attention put to him as Mike when he was on base last year. Some teams went to extremes to shut him down. He's going to steal as many bases are available to him without forcing action that we don't need to."

Trout say he plans to run more. Scioscia downplayed the drop in contact.

"Strikeouts and walks are a result of working counts," Scioscia said. "Mike sees as many pitches as anyone in baseball. He got into a rut, where his strikeouts started creeping up there, but so did his walks and his runs scored were off the charts and the runs he knocked in were off the charts. I think Mike has got a real good idea up at the plate. I think with experience some numbers level out.

"There's no concern with us. The best hitters that ever played this game go into streaks where they'll chase, or they'll expand their zones from maybe being a little out of synch at the plate."

Scioscia projects Trout to hit second in his batting order.

"I'll hit two, three, leadoff, whatever," Trout said. "Wherever he puts me in the lineup, I'll do my best. ... I'm just here to win a championship."

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