Mike Trout has been dealing with high expectations his entire (short) career. Since being drafted, he’s been rated as the top prospect in the Angels system. He’s also been ranked no lower than third of all prospects in baseball. Needless to say, expectations couldn’t have been higher on the 21-year old, but since getting called up April 27, the five-tool super-prospect has not disappointed.
Trout got his first taste of the big-leagues last season when he was called up to take over for the injured Peter Bourjos. He would hit .200 with five home runs, 16 RBI, and 20 runs in 40 games. He showed flashes of that great potential everyone raved about, earning him a comparison to a young Mickey Mantle by some, but also struggled through some growing pains that have helped him know what to expect this time around.
That experience looks like it will help Trout stick around in the bigs this time around. After going hitless in his first seven at-bats, he has found his stroke, hitting 28-for-82 (.341) in May, the fourth best average in baseball entering Friday. He is hitting .312 on the season and has breathed life into the lead off spot for the Angels, which has been a dead zone of productivity for years.
Already this season, Trout has nine multi-hit games, four home runs, six doubles, 12 RBI, 17 runs, and his .377 on-base percentage has provided a jolt at the top of the order, providing more opportunities for the rest of the lineup, including Albert Pujols who has knocked in 17 runs in 18 games. His mix speed, ability to hit for average and power, plate discipline, defensive ability, range and instincts has helped turn this team around. Before Trout’s call-up, the Angels were just 6-14, but have been 16-11 since.
Trout’s ability can’t be questioned. On Twitter Friday, Buster Olney quoted a “veteran talent evaluator” who said: “If he’s not the best player in the game by the end of this season, he will be by the end of next season.” Pretty heady praise, which the young Trout accepts with a smile and a chuckle, saying “That’s awesome.” Yeah, pretty awesome indeed.