Created on: March 11, 2013
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has enjoyed a meteoric rise from the minor leagues to almost AL MVP in his first season. However, if one follows the travails of Major League scouting, it might be hard to believe that the young man has made it to this point. Trout is a player that baseball minds call a five tool player, but it was still not enough for some teams, who did not thoroughly scout the young man because of East Coast bias.
Yes, there are old baseball minds that believe if a player is not playing ball year round then he is not seriously committed or cannot possibly be as good as players who do. Trout breaks that mold, showing that he is every bit as good as any player on the planet. Trout was born August 7, 1991 in Millville, New Jersey and lived there up through high school. Folks that see him now know Trout as one of the best outfielders in the league, but he did not play that position until his senior year at Millville Senior High. Before the switch, he was a pitcher and shortstop.
Scouts should have gotten an inkling of what was in store when he set the New Jersey state record with 18 homers in his senior year, but only a few teams showed interest. That left Trout contemplating attending college, so he had accepted a scholarship to East Carolina University. He held out hope though that he would get drafted high enough that he could sign and play in the minors. One of the teams that kept an eye on Trout was the Los Angeles Angels, but after a solid season the year before, they were picking 25th in the first round and did not see Trout falling that far.
Fortunately, for them, other teams did fall victim to that East Coast bias and let Trout slide down to the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, where the Angels scooped him up. That is one of those mistakes that franchises will regret for at least the next decade or so. He had a rather rapid ascent through the minors, beginning with a short stint with the Arizona Angels of the Rookie Arizona League.
By the end of the 2010 season, which he ended with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Trout was named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. It was clear that it would not be long before he would be heading to Los Angeles. He did earn an injury call up in 2011 and played 40 games that season while still being named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year. His Major League career began in earnest on April 28, 2012, when he was called up for a slumping Bobby Abreu. He would never leave the Majors after that.
In his true rookie season, Trout would batted .326 with 30 home runs and 83 runs batted in. Showing that he could do it all, he also stole 49 bases and made the AL All-Star team. He set the team record for runs scored in a season with 125, and topped off his first year by being named the AL Rookie of the Year. He should also have been given the Gold Glove for his centerfield play, but lost out to Adam Jones in a close vote.
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