With every day that Mike Trout continues to add to what is already one of the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history—he homered and stole another base in Wednesday night’s 8-4 win over Cleveland—it only serves to remind everyone of what an anomaly he truly is.
And that’s an important point to remember, because the Angels have multiple prospects in the pipeline who could be impact players at the big league level one day, even if they are not able to match Trout’s all-around awesomeness.
But could any of them come close?
Outfielder Chevy Clarke is hitting over .300 in Rookie league ball for the Orem Owls with flashes of speed to go along with his average. His power is slowly starting to develop, but he definitely needs to cut down on his strikeouts. If he continues to progress at his current rate, he could definitely be somebody who can get on base and make some things happen with his legs while still being dangerous at the plate.
Fellow Owl Joel Capote actually leads the Rookie league in hitting with a .373 average, but looks to be developing into more of a Tim Salmon-type player, which I’m sure Angel fans would be thrilled with if he had anything close to his career. (Maybe Capote should consider changing his last name to Bass to keep the lucky fish theme going?)
Paul McAnulty has the Mark Trumbo-like power stroke going for him with 18 home runs between (AA) Arkansas and (AAA) Salt Lake City but not the average, so don’t expect to see him swimming upstream with the big club a la Trout anytime soon.
Randal Grichuk was the Angels’ other first-round pick in that 2009 draft (along with Trout) and is having a fantastic 2012 season after a disappointing one last year in which he hit .256 with three home runs and 25 RBI in 53 games.
Caleb Cowart is doing his thing, hitting .289 between Cedar Rapids and Inland Empire with 14 HRs and 89 RBI, and would be considered the closest thing the team has to a Trout-like future breakout star except he’s being overshadowed by the great work C.J. Cron is putting in over in Cedar Rapids (A-Advanced).
Cron, who put up quality numbers in his first professional season last year despite having recently recovered from a shoulder injury, has taken it to another level this season, hitting .291 with 23 HRs, 27 doubles, and 112 RBI in 117 games.
The guy is doing everything he can offensively to blaze a path to Anaheim, but he needs to find a new position since unfortunately he plays the same one as the Quarter-Billion Dollar Man, Albert Pujols.
If anyone can burst onto the scene and capture the baseball world by storm with his outlandish stats, it’s Cron.
Right now he’s the closest thing to a Trout the Angels have, but that just underscores the need to remind ourselves that what Trout is doing shouldn’t be used as any sort of benchmark for other rookies to either aspire to or be measured by.
That would be most un-cool as rookies, even future Hall-of-Famers and/or Rookie of the Year winners, simply don’t put up the kind of offensive numbers we are seeing from Trout.
I mean c’mon, the guy leads the American League in batting average, runs scored and stolen bases.
Care to venture a guess as to how many times that’s been done before by anyone, much less a rookie?
That’s right. Zero.
And when you remind yourself that he didn’t even join the team until late April and he was only 20 years old at the time, then you start to truly understand that we are witnessing something truly historic.
I wouldn’t expect the Angels to experience another Trout-like debut from another rookie anytime soon but the guys mentioned above have a ton of promise and it’ll be fun to continue watching them develop, even if right now they are closer to Lake Trout than Mike Trout.