Key Stats: Mike Trout was MLB.com’s Top Prospect in 2011. Baseball America had him No. 2. Keith Law at ESPN.com? Ranked No. 1. At 19 years old, Mike Trout has drawn comparisons from scouts to Mickey Mantle. He made his debut in the majors at 19, went back to AA, the skipped AAA again when he was called back up in September. He finished his 2011 MLB debut with a .220 AVG, 5 HR, 16 RBI and a .281 OBP over 123 AB’s in 40 games. He will be 20 years old when the 2012 season starts.
Skeptics Say: While the comparison to Mantle is a bit unfair (Mantle was an All-Star and had a .924 ops in his age 20 season), it’s not unreasonable to think that Trout will be contributing to the Angels in 2012. He has been clocked going from the box to 1st on a bunt in 3.96 seconds. He has power, but his speed and his plate discipline are his most valuable tools now. His glove is even more valuable in the immediate future, which doesn’t bode well for us.
Peer Comparison: Since 1985, Mike Trout is the 11th player to make his debut as a 19 year old. The others are (in order of WAR in their rookie season) Edgar Renteria, Ken Griffey Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Andruw Jones, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Justin Upton and Gene Kingsdale. This list has a lot of All Stars and MVP’s. The rest of the article from the Orange County Register that this list came from paints a bright picture for Trout’s future.
Team Outlook:The Angels have a log jam in the outfield between Hunter, Wells, Abreu, Bourjos and Trout. Abreu is old and has been in decline the last 3 years, and the Angegls are looking to trade him. If they can’t, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that trout starts the season in AAA despite his .338/.422/.508 minor league career slashes. Even when he does come up, there isn’t a guarantee he plays everyday.
Projection:There is a lot to like going forward with Trout, but we need to temper our expectations. Draft him knowing that he isn’t going to give you 20 HR or even 400 AB’s and you should be happy with what he does for your squad filling in on a spot start basis.
.275 AVG, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 60 Runs, 25 Steals, .345 OBP, .820 OPS in 396 AB’s.