Mike Trout is a virtual lock to start his second straight All-Star game. The Angels center fielder had garnered more than 4 million votes in Monday’s final balloting update, ranking second among American League outfielders behind Toronto’s Jose Bautista but well ahead of Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, who was third with just under 2 million votes.
But Trout is torn about participating in the home run derby, saying before Monday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox that he has not decided what he would tell Bautista, the AL derby captain, if he is asked to compete.
“I don’t know yet, to tell you the truth,” said Trout, who is batting .314 with a team-high 18 home runs and 59 runs batted in. “It’s kind of a weird topic for me right now. I have mixed feelings. I want to do it and I don’t want to do it.”
Mike Scioscia would prefer Trout not do it, but ultimately, the manager said, it will be the player’s decision.
“As a fan, you’re interested in it, it’s a fun part of the All-Star experience, but I know the grind it takes to go through that, and it’s affected more players’ second halves than helped players,” Scioscia said.
“I don’t think it’s as much the changing of the swing. It’s the volume of full-gorilla swings. It’s a lot of swings in a short amount of time. It’s like you’re on a driving range; you’re not finessing. They’re letting the shaft out from the beginning. It takes a toll on your body.”
Trout, 22, hit a prodigious home run Friday night in Kansas City that, according to ESPN, traveled 489 feet, the longest homer in the major leagues since 2012. He is considered by many to be the best all-around player in the game, and he knows his participation in the derby would be good for the game and the fans.
But he’s also played in all but four games this season, and if he adds the Monday night home run derby to the Tuesday night All-Star game and the travel to and from Minnesota, he won’t get much of an All-Star break.
“Personally, I don’t think it would mess up my swing or anything — I’ve done it in Class-A before,” Trout said. “Not only that, the All-Star break is time to relax, to take batting practice and enjoy the derby. I have a good time watching it. There are guys out there who want to do it. . . . It’s something I want to do, definitely, later in my career.”