Mike Trout came out of nowhere this past season and sent a lot of the misconceptions about rookies back.
Drafted 25th overall in the 2009 MLB draft, Trout was taken behind several players that aren't even in the MLB full-time yet. On his way through through the minor leagues, he gathered many awards and was ranked the No. 1 prospect in many prospect lists.
In 40 games in the 2011 season, Trout had a .220 batting average, an on-base percentage of .281 and a slugging percentage of .390. Those were paltry numbers compared to what he accomplished this past season.
He became the first American League player in history to be named Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in July. He broke an AL rookie record, scoring at least a run in 14 straight games.
Other feats he accomplished include being the youngest player to hit at least 20 home runs and steal at least 40 bases, the first player under 22 to hit a leadoff home run in back-to-back games and setting the Los Angeles Angels rookie record for runs scored in a season.
If it weren't for Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown, Trout would have the AL MVP honors in the bag.
All this could lead to good things for rookies in the future. In the past, they have been handled with kid gloves. Teams would bring their prospects along slowly and hope that it allowed them to reach their full potential rather than potentially ruining them by bringing them along too soon.
Trout has changed things.
It took three years for Trout to catch on in the major leagues, and he didn't even begin the season with the Angels. He was only called up to replace Bobby Abreau in April. Trout caught fire in June and never stopped.
The Angels could have easily made a trade to replace Abreau, but they didn't, and Trout made sure they didn't regret it.
If future rookies can show their teams the same type of game, they might have the same results as Trout. While not every prospect is like Trout—in fact, not many are—they can do more than they would have done in previous years.
Only two positional players taken ahead of Trout in the 2009 draft have made an appearance in the major leagues so far, and it took four seasons for Trout to make it full-time.
Prospects that have similar skill sets to Trout could reap the benefits if their teams decide to give them a chance sooner than they would have.
Out of all the Big Four leagues, it takes the longest for baseball prospects to develop and make it to the major leagues. Trout has shown that positional players can make the jump sooner and be successful.
Trout spent a good amount of time this season first in the batting order. Whenever players get called up midseason, be it because of injuries or any other reason, they seem to get lower spots in the batting order.
If the player has a chance to stick around, his chances of showing himself off aren't that good because of his spot in the lineup. But if a rookie is given a more premium spot in the batting order, he could do a lot more for himself and the team.