Both of these prospects have had big-league shots earlier this season and now they return for a second chance. Mike Trout made an immediate impression Friday night with an eighth inning home run and Alex White is scheduled to start Tuesday against Houston.
Considered by some to be the best prospect in the game, Mike Trout, only 20 years old this month, made his big league debut back in July, but hit only .168/.213/.279 with one home run in 19 at-bats. The sample size was small for sure, but it’s always tough to expect big numbers from a 19-year-old. When Peter Bourjos returned from a hamstring injury, Trout was sent back to double-A where he continued to show his huge offensive upside. His overall double-A line was .326/.414/.544 with 11 home runs and 33 stolen bases in 412 plate appearances. There is little doubt that Trout can hit and run. One big question, however, is how fast can he adjust to major league caliber pitching.
The Angels’ outfield has struggled to produce offensively almost all season long. The problem is, two of the three outfield fixtures are big-contract veterans in Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells. Bobby Abreu, who has struggled since the all-star break, is also a veteran presence, but has little value defensively. The only young outfielder, aside from Trout, is Peter Bourjos, who has hit .301/.370/.566 with three home runs and six steals since the all-star break. He’s not going to be losing playing time if he keeps hitting.
So, the second and perhaps biggest question is where Trout finds playing time. Mike Scioscia was quoted, via MLB.com, as saying,
“He’s going to be out there,” Scioscia said. We really don’t want to bring him up here to sit. … We’ll get him in there as much as we can. He’s certainly going to help us off the bench and play enough to contribute.”
Whatever you say, Mike. This comes from the manager who has never been particularly generous to rookies (see: Wood, Brandon), but Trout’s high-end defensive ability at least gives him somewhat of an edge. The key is that Trout will play, just not everyday. As was the case upon his first call-up, deeper leagues with daily roster moves can go right ahead and take a shot at his upside. Keep in mind, once again, that it will be a lot to expect the 20-year-old to produce at a tremendous level the rest of the way. The upside, however, is still enough to dream on.
Eyeball ROS projection: .262/.335/.422 with two home runs and six stolen bases.
One of the players the Rockies acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal was right-handed starter Alex White. White posted a 3.60 ERA in three starts for the Indians earlier this season, but those 15 innings of work included nine walks and three home runs allowed. After those three starts, White was forced to the 60-day DL with a finer injury, which would mark the end of his time with the Indians organization. In four recent rehab starts for the Rockies, White posted a 1.65 ERA with 10 strikeouts to only one walk in 16.1 innings of work. That’s all the Rox needed to see from White, who is now scheduled to replace Jason Hammel in the rotation.
The good news is that White will make his Rockies debut against the Astros and fantasy owners in need of a spot-starter for that day can go ahead and take a flier. White doesn’t have the highest strikeout upside, but he does generate plenty of groundballs and has displayed good control throughout his minor league career.
Barring any setbacks, after he faces the Astros on Tuesday White will be lined up to face the Diamondbacks, Padres, Reds, Giants, Padres and Giants the rest of the way. That, for the most part, is a favorable schedule.
If White can bring the command/control that he displayed in the minor leagues to the Rockies rotation, there is a good chance he can provide some value based on his schedule the rest of the way. While his strikeout potential still remains in question, moving to the National League can’t hurt. I see more upside than downside in this scenario.