Those four pitchers would be: Aaron Harang (against whom Trout has gone 7-for-17, with a .412/.476/.529 slash line); Mike Adams (3-for-6, .833 SLG); Trout's former teammate, Ervin Santana (2-for-4, with a HR); and Ryan Dempster (6-for-13, .462/.533/1.308, with three doubles, two HRs and a triple). Here's the picture they painted:
• HE HITS HIS PITCH, NOT YOURS: "He knows his own zone," said Santana, whose time as Trout's teammate gave him so much insight into how to get the guy out, that he made it through exactly two pitches of their first encounter before Trout homered off him. "He just realizes what he can do, and he swings in that area only. If you throw it [somewhere else], he takes it. He's just not going to swing."
And how unusual is that? "I've never seen that," Santana said. "How good he is. The talent that he has. And he's not done learning yet."
• WHEN HE GETS HIS PITCH, IT'S UH-OH TIME: "He doesn't miss his pitch when he gets it," said Dempster, who is currently working as an analyst for the MLB Network after a 16-year big league career. "Anybody can wait for their pitch. But how many guys say, 'OK, I'm going to swing at a breaking ball,' and when they get the breaking ball, they pop it up to short? He doesn't do that. He's hitting it hard somewhere."
Dempster ought to know. Every hit he ever allowed to this guy was an extra-base hit. Which led to a story about facing Trout in Texas two years ago. Dempster got him to swing at and miss a fastball down and away, and ingeniously tried to go back to the same pitch in the same location two pitches later. Oops!
"I threw the same fastball that he swung and missed, in the exact same spot," Dempster said. "And he hit it out. And I went, 'Whoa.' You don't see that. That's quick adjustments."
• WEAK CONTACT ISN'T HIS THING: Nothing frustrates any pitcher more than making that perfect pitch -- and getting zilch to show for it. But Trout seems to have an innate ability to foil those perfect pitches, said Harang, who has faced Trout 21 times -- more than all but five other pitchers. "He'll waste a pitcher's good pitches," Harang said, "to get to the point where the pitcher makes a mistake, so he'll hit the pitch that he wants. Like I could throw him a good slider, and he'll foul it off. I'll throw him a fastball in on his hands, and he'll find a way to foul it off instead of putting it in play weakly. And that's like a lost art. Joey Votto does that, where he'll take a good pitch, one that he's not quite committed to swing at but knows it's a strike, and he'll just foul it off, so he can come back and wait for you to make that mistake he can drive. For his age, that's something you just don't see."
• HE'S A LOW-BALL HITTING MACHINE: "He doesn't necessarily have a weak spot," said Adams, another fellow whose AL West duels with Trout (back in Texas) didn't go so hot. "He's hard to figure out. He's a low-ball hitter, too. And that plays in his favor so much, because pitchers are told to keep the ball down. And that's where he does his most damage. He's also a five-tool guy. He can beat out an infield hit. He can drive the ball. ... Hopefully, you just make a good pitch and he gets himself out. Him and Miguel Cabrera -- they're the two guys you just hope get themselves out."