He’s being called the next Mickey Mantle, and while it may be too soon to tell if that comparison is accurate, Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout certainly has all the tools to be a perennial all-star. Trout finished his incredible rookie season batting .326 with a league-leading 49 stolen bases and 129 runs scored in addition to 30 home runs and 83 RBI.
His rise to stardom seemed to come out of nowhere, but there’s one man who knew before the rest of us that Trout was something special. Bob Barth, who’s father founded the Tri-State Arsenal baseball program in 1988, had the pleasure of coaching Trout between the ages of 14-17.
As a member of the Arsenal, Trout played in a multitude of tournaments, regardless of the age group in question.
“It didn’t matter if he was 14 and playing in a 17U tournament, we’d put him out there, and he made the team better!” said Barth. “My father Joe knew Mike was special right away, he said the kid had what it took to make it to the pros.
“By the time he was 15 or so, I started coming around too.”
To Trout, baseball was more than just a game. He worked hard every single day, whether it was in the weight room or on the field. And while he had plenty of natural talent and ability, it was his work ethic that really helped him succeed at the next level.
Coach Barth said, “For him, it wasn’t even training, it’s what he wanted to do day in and day out. Baseball was a social outlet for Mike. He just loved being out there.”
In addition to his love for baseball, Trout is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing.
For kids looking to become the next Mike Trout, or a future MLB star, Coach Barth offers this advice, “You have to work on your game, and improve at every level in order to be successful. Becoming a professional is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t just hope to be a big leaguer and nothing else, you have to want to succeed at every level of competition.”
Sound advice from someone who’s coached one of the best the game has to offer.