by Travis Vandenbrand
Everybody’s heard countless fish stories. Some stories from their Dad, brother or even best friend about the larger-than-life creature that just got away. This fish story involves a trout, but there is no exaggerating about how big he is going to get.
Mike Trout was drafted three years ago in the first round, 25th overall, by the LA Angels. I have a feeling there are twenty-four scouts who have a lot of explaining to do about how this five-tool phenom isn’t wearing their colours. The only scout who may be left off the list is the Nationals representative who had the easiest job in the world recommending Stephen Strasburg.
Immediately, Trout signed with the halos and began his pro career at the ripe age of 18. He spent the remainder of 2009 and all of 2010 in single A and didn’t stop his accelerated climb there. In 2011, he tore through AA ball and was awarded Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year. He also saw his first glimpse of the big leagues when he was an emergency call-up for an injured Peter Bourjos. Later in the year, he received another call-up to the show where he crushed his first homerun and played in 40 games with a subpar batting average of .220.
One month into the 2012 season, Trout was playing for the Angels AAA affiliate when he got his break at the expense of an underachieving Bobby Abreu. The Angels recalled Trout and he began his rampage. He is only 21 but he has been mashing opposing pitchers like a seasoned vet. He is defying the baseball development system which usually frowns on players entering the big leagues in their early twenties. Conventional wisdom suggests a prospect must spend several seasons in the minors and transition slowly to the majors before enduring stardom. It didn’t take Trout long to garner respect from his team and the rest of the American League. He has dominated every category as a hitter and it would be a travesty if he wasn’t awarded AL MVP for 2012.
As of the middle of August, Trout is 1st in batting average, runs and stolen bases in the American League. He is also 3rd in slugging percent and 2nd in OPS. These numbers proves that he is an ideal and productive lead-off hitter for any team. To top off those remarkable stats, he has also clubbed 22 long balls. Besides being a very dynamic hitter, watching Trout patrol the outfield is another treat. He has turned several homeruns into outs and he knows how to play the game right. He is the definition of a five-tool player and oozes the excitement and confidence that his team can feed off of.
MVP awards are usually given to players who strive in offensive or pitching categories and lead their team into a contending status. The Angels have a few aging veterans who, despite lining their pockets, have been extremely disappointing (Tori Hunter and Vernon Wells). Albert Pujols also took a little while to feel comfortable in the confines of Angel Stadium. The Angels are trying to keep pace with the defending AL champ Rangers while fighting off the resilient A’s in the battle for the AL West crown. Trout was able to keep this team afloat until the beast that is Pujols awoke and I can’t mention the Angels without mentioning the phenomenal season that Mark Trumbo is having. However, would the Angels be where they are right now without Trout? Or would they be fighting with the Mariners for the worst of the West.
MVP’s make the team around them better. Wayne Gretzky with the Oilers, Michael Jordan with the Bulls, and Gord Downey with The Tragically Hip, these groups would not be the same without their pivotal centre pieces. Trout snatches hits, extra base hits and homeruns from opposing hitters resulting in his pitchers having a lower ERA while his team is on defense. Offensively, he gets on base and racks up steals to put him in scoring position for the sluggers in the line-up after him. Trout also hits for power and drives in runs to benefit the base runners ahead of him, as well as, providing run support for his pitching staff. Who wouldn’t love a teammate who could inflate your stats?
Baseball is trying to fight through a very dark era. Steroids have tainted many of the records that have been surpassed over the last 20 years. Players like Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, and Brett Lawrie and trying to make fans forget about the Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco years. However, I believe Mike Trout is the real deal and will be the poster boy of the Major Leagues in a very short time. Trout will be the 2012 AL MVP and there’s absolutely nothing fishy about this kid’s game.
As always I am interested to hear what you think. Leave me a comment below.