One of the problems with playing on the West Coast is that players sometimes get overlooked at postseason awards time.
That’s not likely to happen this year, certainly not with Angels rookie Mike Trout on virtually everyone’s radar.
Trout has been at the head of the American League Rookie of the Year class almost since he joined the Angels on April 28. He’s been a subject of AL Most Valuable Player talk for several weeks.
At first, it seemed ludicrous to consider him an MVP candidate, but now it has become matter of fact to include his name in discussions. His dual selection as AL player of the month and rookie of the month for July — a first for any AL player since the awards were established — will only ratchet up his candidacy.
How does Trout compare to Ichiro Suzuki, the last AL player to pull off the Rookie of the Year and MVP double, which Suzuki did in 2001?
Through 82 games of their rookie seasons, here is how they match up:
Suzuki was new to the U.S. in 2001, having arrived after playing nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Japan’s Pacific League. But he was 27, a veteran in a sense; Trout doesn’t turn 21 until Tuesday.
Trout hit .392 in July with six doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 32 runs scored in 25 games. His runs tied a major league record for rookies previously established by Al Trosky of the Cleveland Indians in 1934.
When it comes to postseason awards, the Angels have been caught short, perhaps because the time difference means their home games don’t start on TV until 10 p.m. But Trout and the arrival of social media may change that.
The kid’s exploits are popular subjects on Twitter and Facebook. His Twitter followers now number more than 105,000.
The Angels have had just one Rookie of the Year winner, Tim Salmon in 1993. Their only MVP winners have been Vladimir Guerrero in 2004 and Don Baylor in 1979.
At the rate he’s playing, Trout’s name may soon be among theirs.