As Parkes mentioned in the daily link dump, the LAAAAA Angels called up uber-prospect Mike Trout at the ripe old age of 19. A hamstring injury to Peter Bourjos (seen above, reverted back to human form) clears space in center field for the young phenom, presumably to play between two much older, decidedly non-phenomenal ballplayers.
Mike Trout was a topic for discussion on the Getting Blanked podcast just last week, with Angels beat dude and all-around swell human Sam Miller expressing his doubt that a) we’d see Mike Trout this year and b) noting the worrying track record for 19 year-old players at the big league level.
Hard to fault Mr. Miller for a) as this move is very unexpected and comes only after the injury to Bourjos. Sam is on to something, playing in the big leagues at 19 is very hard, no matter how dominant an athlete is at Double-A. To assume Mike Trout will step into the a big league lineup and continue being Mike Trout is…foolish?
The Angels are maddeningly back into the
NLAL West race and clearly feel Trout can step in and provide value. But for how long?
Peter Bourjos walked off the field under his own power last night, suggesting he shouldn’t miss too much time. Peter Bourjos is also pretty damn good. A determined fly catcher with a suspect bat in the Franklin Gutierrez mould, Bourjos is a center fielder par excellence. According to Dewan’s +/-, Bourjos already saved his team 19 runs after posted a +15 last season.
As you might assume, Bourjos is a fast runner. He is very, very fast1.
Bourjos is still no great shakes with the bat but he’s more aggressive in the zone this season while drawing more walks. The result is a league average hitter (101 wRC+) who already posted more than 2 Wins above replacement.
Can the Angels count on Mike Trout to provide the same production as a 19 year-old? Doubtful, though playing over his head is nothing new. Unless Trout does the impossible and sets the big league world on fire at 19, I expect to see Peter Bourjos back in center field after a cheetah blood injection heals his hamstring.
If only the Angels could find a way to fit both these young players into the same outfield at once! One can only assume they’re smart enough to not take on a huge chunk payroll in the form of an aging outfielder on a long-term deal with so much talent in the pipeline.
1 – Hilariously, Mike Trout may actually be faster.