Baseball fans will no longer have to wait until Sunday's Futures Game to watch top prospect Mike Trout roam an outfield. After incumbent center fielder Peter Bourjos injured his hamstring turning a double into a triple, the Angels decided to call up Trout from double-A Arkansas. As both an Angels and prospects fan, I can't even begin to describe how excited I am. It's somewhere between "wheeeee!" and "had to be checked into a mental institute." But today isn't about me and the last few shreds of sanity I have left, it's about a 19-year-old kid who is better at baseball than anything you do. Nobody is really impressed with your Excel skills anyway.
Trout's prospect ranking ranges anywhere from #1 overall (Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo) to #2 (Baseball America). The Angels made Trout the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft and the New Jersey native wasted no time raking right away in rookie ball. Trout, who won't turn 20 until August, began this year at double-A and has backed up all of his believers. Trout is hitting .330/.422/.544 with 9 home runs, 12 doubles, 11 triples and 28 stolen bases. While he isn't as polished on defense as Bourjos in center, Trout does match him in speed and figures to be a plus defender.
The Angels aren't expecting to place Bourjos on the disabled list so it's unclear what the Angels will do with Trout after the All Star break. Of course if he hits like the reincarnation of Mickey Mantle, it won't be much of a decision. But it is hard to expect that kind of immediate impact from anyone, let alone a teenager. I've been know to dabble in delusion from time to time and since I'm blinded with excitement, I fully expect Trout to hit and stick in the Majors. Mike Scioscia loves the kid (let's face it, who doesn't?) and won't let him go if there is a chance Trout can help the Angels win the West. If he is sent down, it would likely be to the taxi squad triple-A Salt Lake team.
Trout will wear #27, last worn by fan favorite and future Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero. It's fitting in a passing of the torch sense. But, you know, no pressure kid.
Check back this weekend for more Trout coverage. Unless he hits a home run in his first at bat. I'll probably spontaneously combust under those circumstances.