Get familiar with Angels slugger Mike Trout


It’s not likely baseball fans will ever see L.A. Angels outfielder Mike Trout in a Minor League uniform ever again. Photo by: Jim Ellwanger / Flickr

BY STAYSON ISOBE, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Ok, I’m going to just come out and say it, I can’t take my eyes off of Mike Trout.

It may not be a “man crush” yet, but it sure as heck is getting close to it. But ever since he was rightfully called up to the big leagues on April 27, every Angels game has become must-see (as if it wasn’t already). When he steps into the batting box, I literally stop everything I’m doing waiting to see what he’ll do next.

At the time of his call-up, my Angels were a dreadful 6-14 and coming up drastically short in reaching everyone’s preseason World Series predictions. Albert Pujols was in the midst of the worst stretch of his career at the plate, still homerless 20 games into the season. They were nine games behind their AL West rival Texas Rangers. It was after a 3-2 loss that day to Cleveland that Trout was recalled for his second MLB stint with the hope he would inject some life into the floundering Angels club, no pun intended.

Well let’s just say, Trout has been everything the Angels could’ve hoped for and 35 games later, the Angels sit at 28-27 and their deficit behind the Rangers have been slashed in half following a series win over Texas and 10 victories in their last 12 games.

The five-tool prospect has emerged into one of the game’s best leadoff hitters in just over a month and has changed the culture in Anaheim. In fact, he finally gives the Angels their first legitimate leadoff option since Chone Figgins’ departure in 2009, igniting a lifeless offense. He is ranked in the top-five on the team in just about every offensive category including runs scored (tied for first), hits (fifth), doubles (third), triples (first), home runs (tied for fourth), RBIs (fourth), batting average (second) and stolen bases (tied for first) despite playing in just 33 games this season. His slugging percentage and OPS is even higher than Pujols’.

But not only has Trout made an impact at the plate, but he’s also played superior defense in the outfield. His speed is always on display whether he’s roaming the outfield grass or on the base paths as he’s constantly wreaking havoc on the opposition.

For his incredible display of skills during the month of May, Trout was named the American League Rookie of the Month on Sunday. During his first full month in the big leagues in 2012, Trout batted .324 with five homers, six doubles, two triples, 11 walks, 16 RBIs, 21 runs scored and eight steals while helping turn around the Angels’ season.

Even more so it’s refreshing to see him succeed after several past Angels top prospects have been nothing short of busts (I’m looking right at you Brandon Wood).

Coupled with Bryce Harper in D.C. with the Nationals, Bud Selig should be doing cartwheels with the bright, young talent he’s got in Trout (20 years old) and Harper (19 years old). The two were the consensus top-two prospects in the game heading into the season and little over a month after they made their season debuts (Harper was called up on April 28, a day after Trout), they’re now the two reigning Rookies of the Month for their respective leagues.

But for me, it’s all about Trout. From robbing Nick Swisher of an extra-base hit while crashing into the outfield wall face first to his three RBI game against the Rangers to beating out a Nelson Cruz rifle from shallow right field at the plate all in the last week, he’s got me hooked.

Still two months shy of his 21st birthday, Trout is just getting started. That being said, I’ve got years and years to reach develop my aforementioned “man crush.” Of course at his rate though, he’ll have me at his next breathtaking play by the end of today.

It’s clear to me the Angels have the biggest fish in the sea.

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