Rookie Trout continues to soar for Angels

Rookie Trout continues to soar for Angels

Published Jun. 19, 2012 11:59 p.m. ET

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Amid all the runs, hits and errors
that piled up Tuesday night at Angel Stadium was this little gem: Rookie Mike
Trout is now officially in the race for the American League batting title.


Trout wasn't even on the Angels' roster for the first 20 games of the season,
but he's as important to their success now as Mark Trumbo or Albert Pujols.
Wherever this team is going, he's going to help get them there.


Trout got on base five times and was 4 for 4 in the Angels' 12-5 victory over
the San Francisco Giants, giving him enough plate appearances to qualify among
the league leaders in hitting. His .337 average puts him second in the AL
behind Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, who leads with a .357 mark.


Despite the fact he's played in only 47 of his team's 69 games, Trout also
leads the league in stolen bases (19), is third in on-base percentage (.397)
and is tied for 14th in runs scored (40).


He's only 20, so to suggest he is already one of the game's best players
borders on the absurd. But someone offered that notion to manager Mike Scioscia


"I think it's premature, but I think everyone sees the potential,"
Scioscia answered evenly. "When you're talking about putting a player in
an elite group, you have to stand the test of time and do things consistently.
But from when he's come up to what he's done now, you couldn't ask more from
any player at any age."


Trout's night was one of several that were notable for a team that has yet to
offer consistent offensive performances. The top four hitters in the order —
Trout, Torii Hunter, Pujols and Trumbo — combined for 11 hits, 10 runs and 10
RBI. Pujols' first-inning three-run homer off Giants starter Barry Zito began
the hit parade.


Trout had doubles in the first and second innings, singled in the fourth and
sixth and drew a walk in the eighth. He scored four runs and tied his career
best with four hits, the second time this month he's had four hits in one game.


He didn't stop running even after the game was over. A small cluster of
reporters waited near his locker after the game only to be informed that he had
departed out a back door with his parents, who are visiting from New Jersey.


No worries. In this case, it was left for others to talk about him.


"The kid just comes and plays," Pujols said. "Part of that is
that he doesn't have any pressure. He comes here, he plays around, he acts like
a veteran guy, and that's something the veteran guys allow him to do. He
belongs here; he knows that.


"It's pretty exciting to see a young player like that, 20 years old — just
the way he runs the bases, the way he goes after the ball. He knows the


What he's done this season, still two months from his 21st birthday, has become
so commonplace that it's hardly surprising when he had a big game. Example:
Trout has been on base a major league-best 83 times since May 1. His 40 runs
since that date are the most in the AL.


"I don't think anyone can say they're surprised because his talent says he
has the potential to do the things he's doing," Scioscia said. "You
don't expect him to get on base five times and control the game the way he can
from so many different aspects every night, but what he's doing he has the
potential to do.


"From that perspective, it's not a surprise."


At this point, nothing Trout does surprises anyone — probably even himself.