Gregor: Trout has the tools to repeat as AL MVP

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout signs autographs before a spring training baseball exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, March 23, 2015.

    Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout signs autographs before a spring training baseball exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, March 23, 2015. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/29/2015 6:39 PM

Over the last four seasons, Mike Trout has displayed all five tools.

He can hit. He can hit for power. He can run. He can play defense. He can throw.

 

Trout is everything you want in a star baseball player and much, much more.

But here is the most impressive quality -- Trout is still a baby at 23 years old.

Last season, the Los Angeles Angels center fielder was the American League's unanimous MVP after posting a .287/.377/.561 hitting line with 36 home runs and 111 RBI.

In 2012 and '13, his first two full seasons with the Angels, Trout finished second in MVP voting.

He has obviously improved with age, even though he is not close to reaching his prime.

Last year, Trout led the AL in RBI and WAR (7.9), he finished third in home runs, triples (9) and OPS (.939), fourth in walks (83) and sixth in doubles (39).

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A standout all-around talent, Trout still has plenty of room to improve as he gains experience.

Last season, he had trouble laying off high pitches and led the league with 184 strikeouts. Trout's stolen base total also dipped to 16.

Despite a few warts, Trout is an obvious talent, and he is the overwhelming favorite to win MVP honors again this season.

There is plenty of competition, and here's a closer look at the contenders:

Jose Abreu, White Sox

Last year, Abreu had a .317/.383/.581 hitting line, 36 home runs and 107 RBI. The Sox' first baseman/designated hitter was the deserved unanimous Rookie of the Year, and he also finished fourth in MVP voting.

Abreu is positioned to move up the MVP ladder this season.

Having been through a full major-league schedule, Abreu should be better equipped physically and mentally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He also has a better hitter (Adam LaRoche) behind him in the cleanup spot, and Melky Cabrera is a major upgrade in the No. 2 spot.

Abreu is not going to have to carry the whole load like he did last season, and that should allow him to at least match and possibly improve his stellar 2014 numbers.

Robinson Cano, Mariners

The Mariners haven't been to the playoffs since 2001, but they are expected to make a strong push for October this season.

Felix Hernandez heads a deep starting rotation, and Seattle's bullpen is one of the best in baseball.

On the offensive side, Cano makes everything go.

After leaving the Yankees via free agency after the 2013 season, Cano signed a monster 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners.

Last year, he ranked sixth in the AL with a .314 batting average and .382 on-base percentage and seventh with 37 doubles.

Playing half his games at Safeco Field, a notorious pitcher's park, took a toll on Cano's power numbers (14 home runs, 82 RBI), but he still had a solid season and should be even better this year since the Mariners have a better lineup.

Honorable mentions:

Miguel Cabrera was the AL MVP in 2012-13, but he dropped to ninth place last season due to health issues.

Cabrera had off-season surgery on his ankle and foot and was late getting on the field in spring training.

If he can stay out of the trainer's room, Cabrera is still one of the best hitters in the game and an obvious MVP contender.

Indians left fielder Michael Brantley made a strong MVP push last season and finished third after batting .327 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI.

Only 27, Brantley is right in his prime and poised for another big season with Cleveland.

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