Buster Olney’s top 10 center fielders: Mike Trout, of course. Then who?
MLB 

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”

In a meeting of the Angels’ new coaching staff the other day, the talk was about the presentation of information to players and the integration of analysis. The first example discussed was something that happened with the best player on the planet.

A couple of years ago, Mike Trout approached Dino Ebel, who, at that time, was a longtime coach with the Angels. Trout’s question to Ebel was, boiled down: How can I get better defensively?

Even posing the question reflected so much about Trout. The drive to get better. The deep humility. Even after MVP awards and big money and industry acclaim, the understanding of the constant challenges the game of baseball presents. The deep trust in Ebel and others on the Angels’ staff in an era when many of his peers prefer their personal coaches, to the degree that they’ll stiff-arm team instruction.

Ebel and others on the Angels’ staff presented Trout with feedback about his defense, with suggestions for improvements on specific elements of how he played center field. And Trout got better. Trout always seems to get better.

It’s as if a lot of his year-to-year statistics are constructed on the side of a pyramid, climbing relentlessly.

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