While working the Athletics/Angels game Friday evening, hitting in the #9 slot for the Halos was none other than the hottest prospect of the week, Mike Trout.
Of course nine innings is nothing to base much analysis on, save Trout did have to do the rote things: swing in the on-deck circle, get his arm loose between innings in the field, and well, even a couple of times in game situations. For the archives, Trout was the Angels' first-round pick in 2009, #25 overall, and as a 19-year old is the youngest player in the Majors. Here are my initial thoughts:
While not that tall, at 6'1", at 200 pounds, Trout carries himself as a big guy.
For a big guy, Trout moves very well, as his 97 Minor League swipes attest.
Trout has a strong arm. Twice during the game Friday, there were plays at the plate, and both times the ball went to Trout's center field territory. Both times the outfielder uncorked strong throws, though both times the run scored before the resulting throw would make a difference. Still...
The youngster made four plate appearances, during which Trout drove in his first Major League run, taking a low and away Brad Ziegler pitch into right field with a fine plate appearance.
Over his four at-bats, Trout saw a fine total of 21 pitches, and considering that three were during his first plate appearance, spreading the 18 over the final three was just fine.
Trout did strike out in his final at-bat, facing Andrew Bailey. I have noticed repeatedly over the last few years a pattern of hard-throwing confident pitchers, when facing young hitters, and this at-bat was typical. Bailey tossed three balls the first three pitches to see if he could get Trout to chase. However, with the count 3-0, Bailey came in with a fastball that Trout took for strike one, and followed with an off-speed pitch that Trout flailed at. Finally, Bailey put his quarry away with a fastball down the middle in the mid-90's.
True, Bailey was toying with the hitter to some degree, but Trout looks as if he has the tools to make it, and maybe even the temperment. He may not stick this year, aside from a likely September call-up, but the kid can play.
And, in a couple of years, Bailey will likely not be able to approach Trout the same way as he did Friday, or the pitcher will get beat.