Trout’s 2011 stints with Angels will help in ’12

Few 20-year-old outfielders attract the kind of attention Mike
Trout is getting in spring training but then Trout isn’t your
everyday prospect.

”It’s hard to believe this guy was in the big leagues at 19,”
said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who would not rule out Trout
making the big club out of training camp despite a crowded outfield
featuring several highly paid players. ”There are some things
we’re going to put him through this spring that will hopefully get
him, not only on the depth chart, but eventually, you never know
when a guy like that is going to get an opportunity and it could
happen out of spring.”

With Vernon Wells slated for left field, Pete Bourjos in center
and Torii Hunter in right and with Bobby Abreu as a fourth
outfielder and slugger Mark Trumbo a possibility to be headed for
part-time right field duty, it appeared a certainty to many that
Trout would begin the 2012 season in the minor leagues.

In 2011, a season in which the Angels had nowhere near the depth
they have now, Trout was called up to the Angels and ran hot at
times but mostly cold in two stints after opening the season at
Double-A Arkansas.

After hitting .326 with a .414. on-base percentage, 11 homers
and 33 stolen bases and eventually taking home the Baseball America
minor league player-of the year award, Trout hit .163 in 14 games
with the Angels over 23 days until the last day of July.

He returned to the Angels on Aug.19 and appeared to be a
different player, hitting .406 with four homers through Sept.
3.

He finished the season cold, stumbling with a 3 for 38 run at
the plate and only one RBI, closing with a .204 batting
average.

Still, Scioscia felt the youngster held his own.

”I don’t think he looked overmatched in any area,” Scioscia
said. ”There’s a growth curve. There’s a trial and error period
that every player goes through but I don’t think there was any area
anywhere where we looked at him and felt that he was
overmatched.”

Trout acknowledged that as a hitter who likes to hit to the
opposite field, he noticed major league pitchers threw him a steady
stream of inside pitches.

”I’ve got to work on all my game and (hit to) all fields,” he
said.

Trout played in the 2011 Arizona Fall League and put up
unimpressive numbers, a .245 batting average and only one homer and
five RBIs in 106 at-bats.

He most recently spent time hitting in batting cages with
coaches and friends in New Jersey.

Trout said that a year under his belt will greatly help him this
time around.

”I just know what to expect this year,” he said. ”Last year,
you didn’t know what was going to happen. You didn’t know what your
days are like. Now that I know what it is, this is definitely
better.

”If they put me in (Class Triple-A) Salt Lake or wherever they
put me, I’m going to accept that and it’s just going to make me
work harder. They’ve always made the right decision in the past. If
they’re going to win, they’re going to put the right lineup out
there.”