Mike Trout hopes to set the table for the American League when he leads off the 84th All-Star Game on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
AL manager Jim Leyland named the Angels’ 21-year-old center fielder as the team’s leadoff hitter. It will mark Trout’s first All-Star start and his second appearance in the Midsummer Classic.
Not many major leaguers can brag about a rookie season the way Trout can.
Last year, he nearly became the third player in history to win Rookie of the Year and an MVP in the same season — Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Fred Lynn (1975) are the only two to do so.
Trout hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBI last season, making him a shoe-in for the American League Rookie of the Year award, but he finished second in the MVP voting behind Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera — which is understandable.
During his amazing rookie campaign, Trout also led the majors with 49 stolen bases — he was caught just five times — and he scored a major league-best and Angels’ franchise record 129 runs.
Trout, who turns 22 in August, is baseball’s current example of the ultimate five-tool player. Not only can he produce at the plate and on the basepaths, he’s been known to rob a few opponents of home runs and for-sure-to-be gappers.
The Millville (NJ) High School product was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft as the 25th overall pick. On July 9, 2011, he made his major league debut at the age of 19.
He only played in 40 games that season, hitting .220 with five homers, 16 RBI and four stolen bases. But that wasn’t enough games to qualify him as a rookie.
In 2010, he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, but Los Angles called him up on April 28 and the rest is history.
The Angels were struggling at 6-14 before Trout’s call-up, but Trout supplied a spark as LA went 81-58 after his promotion.
It’s a safe bet Trout would have reached the 200-hit mark had he made the team on Opening Day. He posted five four-hit games during the season — three in June, one in July and one in October.
Through the All-Star break this season, Trout is hitting .322 with 15 homers, 59 RBI, 65 runs and 15 stolen bases. He also leads the AL with eight triples.
With his talent — and as long as he stays healthy — there’s no telling how great of a career Trout will have.
Will he end up in the Hall of Fame when all is said and done? Watch the above video to hear his case.