The ever-popular spring training series "Over/under" is back for 2014. Each day, we'll ask an over/under question, write a short analysis and include a poll to vote on.
We'll begin with the Angels' Mike Trout:
As a rookie in 2012, Trout hit 30 home runs in 559 at-bats. In 2013, he hit 27 in 589 at-bats. In terms of home runs-to-fly ball ratio in 2012, 19.9 percent of his fly balls left the park; in 2013, 15.8 percent. So a few more fly balls left the park in 2012, although some of those home runs turned into doubles in 2013 as he hit 12 more two-baggers. So the question: Has his power maxed out? Considering his age -- he'll be playing his age-22 season -- it's certainly possible that a power spike could happen. Ken Griffey Jr. had his spike at 23, when he increased from 27 to 45 home runs. Mickey Mantle went from 27 to 37 at 23 (and then 52 at 24). Hank Aaron went from 27 and 26 at ages 21-22 to 44 at age 23. Trout turns 23 in August.
Angel Stadium is a tough home run park, but it hasn't seemed to affect Trout, as he's hit 30 home runs at home in his career, 32 on the road. It's also interesting to see where he's hitting his home runs. In both 2012 and 2013, he hit four home runs to right-center or right field. If he's going to hit more home runs, it will probably mean a few more opposite-field homers. Miguel Cabrera, for example, hit 17 to the opposite field last season. The other thing to factor in is how many pitches he'll get to hit. He walked a league-leading 110 times last season. Manager Mike Scioscia plans to bat him second in front of Albert Pujols. So if Pujols comes back strong, maybe Trout walks a little less.
The projection systems have Trout hitting anywhere from 25 to 29 home runs. I'm going to set the over/under at 29.5.