Since joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2011, Mike Trout has seen the playoffs once, getting swept out of the ALDS in 2014. But rather than look for something new, Trout is determined to prove that he is still capable of leading the Angels to greatness.

When Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, many speculated if Trout would request a trade away from the Angels. He rebuffed those rumors, and has remain devoted to Los Angeles. Current and former teammates of Trout, including Jared Weaver, know how badly Trout wants to win. For all the growing pains LA has endured, Weaver believes Trout is in it for the long haul with the Angels, via ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

“He signed here, he knew what he was getting into, and he wants to stay here,” Weaver said of Trout. “Like he said, it would mean even more to win here after people are saying he should leave. ‘We want to see you somewhere else.' Well that's not what he wants. He wants to stay here; I think people should respect that. It's going to make it even better when they do start winning and win something to be a, ‘I told you so,' situation.”

After Ohtani's departure, Trout became an even bigger leader in the Angels' clubhouse. Since spring training, manager Ron Washington said Trout has been the one, ‘leading the charge,' and that he made sure everyone enjoyed putting in the work to improve.

That didn't go unnoticed by Taylor Ward. Trout's demeanor has had a direct impact on the left fielder as he feels more amped up to compete knowing his outfield mate wants to be in LA.

“Knowing that your best player wants to be here and earn it and win a championship, and that's been the message and the drive – I just really think that really helps everything,” Ward said. “It fires me up knowing that stuff.”

But Trout knows getting to the playoffs won't be an easy task. Especially coming off of a 2023 season that saw him appear in just 82 games due to injury. That output frustrated Trout, per Carlos Estevez, and made him more determined to come back stronger in 2024.

“He's just mad,” Estevez said. “He couldn't stay healthy last year, and he's just mad at that.”

What Mike Trout must do to get Angels in playoffs

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (27) on deck to bat against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning at Tropicana Field.
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

While injuries held him back in 2023, Trout knows that when he is at his best, there aren't many better hitters in MLB. Staying healthy throughout the 2024 campaign is Trout's first goal to continued success.

“When I feel like myself at the plate,” Trout said, “no one can stop me.”

Early into the year, Trout has looked healthy and dominant at the plate. Through the first 17 games of the season, Trout is hitting .284 with seven home runs, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. The outfielder is in a three-way tie for the MLB lead for home runs. Furthermore, he ranks second on the team in RBI and stolen bases and third in batting average.

Mike Trout has had immense individual success throughout his MLB career. Over 14 years, he has hit .300 with 375 home runs, 950 RBI and 209 stolen bases. He is a three-time MVP, 11-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger and a former Rookie of the Year.

But despite all that success, the Angels have struggled to find any playoff success. They've started out the 2024 campaign a modest 8-9. They'll need to find more consistency and overall better production to stay afloat in the AL West.

Still, through all the smoke, through all the trade rumors, Trout has emerged wearing his Angels jersey proudly. He doesn't expect that to change anytime soon and is looking to prove Los Angeles can be a playoff contender.