In the wake of center fielder Peter Bourjos' hamstring injury, the Los Angeles Angles have promoted their top prospect, Mike Trout. Trout will take over in center field while Bourjos is on the mend.
Not only is Mike Trout the best prospect in the Angels' system, but he is considered to be the No. 1 or 2 prospect in all of baseball - depending on how you feel about 2010 first overall pick, Bryce Harper. Trout was raking at Double-A Arkansas with a .324/.415/.534 slash line, 32 extra-base hits, 28 SB and a 38 walks to 61 whiffs.
At 19, Trout will be one of the youngest players in the game to make his debut. Wilson Betemit made his debut when he was fifteen days younger than Trout. Other guys such as Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes, B.J. and Justin Upton also made their debuts as teenagers. Trout will turn 20 on August 7.
The biggest question that remains is how long will Trout be up with the Angels? Some are speculating that he could be demoted once Bourjos makes his return from the disabled list. That is a question that can't be answered until Bourjos does make it back. With Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells at the corners with Bobby Abreu handling the DH duties, the chances are good that Trout finds his way back to the minors - perhaps with the Angles Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City.
What happens if he forces the issue though? The likelihood of a 19 year old hitting the ground running at the Major League level is low, but it isn't unheard of. Could Trout play well enough to force a trade? From a quick look at the Angels roster and some of the contracts, Abreu appears the most likely to be traded since his contract is up after this season (he does have a 2012 option that kicks in if he has enough plate appearances). I'm not putting the CWI stamp of approval on that analysis, I'm just simply speculating out loud.
All eyes will be on Mike Trout over the next few weeks as he makes his debut and tries to contribute to the Los Angeles Angels' success. The Angels currently sit in 2nd place in their division, one game behind the Texas Rangers.