Friday, July 8, 2011

MLB Player to Watch: Mike Trout

You can go ahead and put that jersey on now, Mike.

In a move that came way earlier than most expected, the Angels that play in Anaheim have called up top prospect Mike Trout.

He's not their top prospect, but arguably the top prospect in all of Major League Baseball, and tonight, at the age of 19, he will make his debut as the starting centerfielder against the Mariners.  Among prospect "experts," Trout is unanimously in the top two in the game, either ahead of or right behind Bryce Harper.  The two are different types of players -- Harper has prodigious power, Trout is a well-rounded hitter that should steal a ton of bases and play an excellent defensive centerfield -- but few can strongly favor either in the debate of the game's best.

For a guy who was planning on playing in the Futures Game next week in Arizona, the promotion that is a result of a hamstring injury to Peter Bourjos has to come as a surprise.  Not because he isn't ready, because by all accounts he is -- he was hitting .324/.415/.534 as a 19-year old in Double-A.  It's just that the Angels have two very well-paid outfielders in Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells and Trout is so young with only a few months above A-ball.  Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and ESPN:
Angels fans want him up now, but it's easy to forget that one of the best prospects in baseball (if not the best) doesn't turn 20 until August. Still, even as a teenager, the upper levels of the minors have failed to slow him down, as he's hitting .323/.427/.547 in his first 55 games for Double-A Arkansas with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases while playing a top-notch center field. He could arguably provide the Angels a boost this year, but 2012 is a far more realistic expectation.

For many, a September call-up seemed the likeliest debut, but Bourjos' injury and the Angels' 2nd place status in the AL West created a perfect storm.  So go pick him up in your fantasy league.  Oh wait a second, someone already owns him.  In this case, just make sure to watch him, because he might be special and if he's not, that probably just means he's going back to the minors when Bourjos comes back.  Bummer for those of us hoping to see him dominate another Futures Game...


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