Several of golf major’s champions and baseball’s All-Stars have come through Utah in recent years on their way to bigger things, but they were not necessarily recognizable at the time.
Mike Trout is different.
The outfielder who took a circuitous route to Salt Lake City in the Los Angeles Angels’ system is living up to all of his advertising through 11 games with the Bees this month. He’s batting .435 with at least one hit in every game. If that leaves him 50 games shy of Joe DiMaggio’s Pacific Coast League-record 61-game hitting streak of 1933, well, give him time.
Actually, Trout’s production may force Angels executives to rethink how long they’re planning to leave him with the Bees, even at age 20. He skipped the Triple-A level last season, twice going from Double-A Arkansas to the big leagues, where he batted .220 in 40 games.
Bottom line: You’d better catch this guy while you have a chance. Trout has rewarded the fans attending the team’s home-opening series against Tucson, which continues tonight at Spring Mobile Ballpark, with something special in each game.
Friday, he reached third base standing up with a triple to left-center field that would have been a routine double for just about anybody else.
Saturday, he scored from first base on a single.
Sunday, he went 3-for-3 with his third triple of the season and sprinted to the warning track to make a ninth-inning catch in center field.
For all of his hitting ability, speed is what distinguishes the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Trout. That’s what you have to see in person to fully appreciate him.
Because of a viral illness and a minor shoulder injury, Trout was unable to make much of an impression in spring training, which is why he’s a Bee for now.
The Angels are loaded with outfielders and designated hitters, so Trout may stay in Salt Lake City awhile. Not if he keeps hitting like this, though. The Angels will have to make room for him somehow. Eventually, so will the American League All-Star roster.