This is where the Tim Salmon reference would have gone, but I'm not corny
Photo Credit: angelswindotcom
By now you've heard, the California Angels called up Mike Trout. The speedy Outfielder made his major league debut today. Baseball's youngest player (19-years old) went 0 for 3 (Flyout, Groundout, Lineout) against Blake Beavan and the Mariners. No strikeouts is a plus, but Beavan doesn't punch out many, he's no Iron Mike. Trout is filling in for an injured Peter Bourjos (hamstring), who may be back after the All-Star Break, so it's likely for this to be a short stay for baseball's top prospect not named Bryce Harper. We'll pretend he's up for good though, because in competitive leagues we click the add button before this situation figures itself out. To the jump for your Tim Salmon/fish reference-free Mike Trout forecast!
No time at AAA was needed for Trout to make the jump to the big leagues. He has quick hands, quick feet and an advanced approach at the plate. Trout had a 11.3% BB% in 74 games at AA-Arkansas. His elite speed helps him beat out Ground Balls, his ability to square up the ball and hit Line Drives (22% LD% this year) only helps inflate his BABIP. Trout has "developing power" which means he doesn't have much yet, but he's still young and hasn't really played ball at any hitter friendly ball parks (unlike many West Coast minor leaguers). Trout hit 10 HR last season between low and high A-ball and has 9 HR through 74 games this season. He projects to hit 20-25 taters later in his career. Trout's biggest asset in his Stolen Base totals, he stole 55 bases in 2010 (131 games) and has 28 SB this season. Alright, it's projection time.
As I previously mentioned, we'll ignore the signs of Trout being sent back down when Bourjos is ready to return. Mike Trout is too good to employ the wait-and-see approach, he's probably better than Peter Bourjos right now and besides, who wants to see a three game forecast? OK, NOW it's projection time.
At Bats: 225 (68 games)
Strikeouts: 53 (23.6% K%)
Fly Balls: 64 (37% FB%)
Home Runs: 5 (7.8% HR/FB%)
BABIP: .341 (57 singles, double, triples)
Batting Average: .276
Stolen Bases: 17
Trout hit ninth tonight, filling Boujos' empty space in the lineup. The projected At Bats pretty much assumes that he'd stay at the bottom of the lineup (conservative coaching projection). He obviously has top-of-the-order potential so it's possible for him to see more At Bats than this forecast. I felt like I was doing him a disservice with the .345 BABIP considering he's been over .400 during three of his five stops in the minors (.392 this season). Of course he's playing against highly inferior pitching and defenses. Only fourteen players have averaged a .340+ BABIP since 2005 (min 2,000 AB). Only Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto have a BABIP over .350 during this stretch. Giving Trout a .341 BABIP puts him among the league's elite in this category. The official rest-of-season forecast calls for a .276 AVG, 37 Runs, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 17 SB (225 AB).
These numbers say Trout is better than Peter Bourjos right now. The scouts say he's beyond awesome. Justin Upton stuck around for 43 games in 2007 after being called up as a 19-year old. Maybe Trout stays, maybe he doesn't. He's already owned in 15% of Y! leagues, but was added by 2:30 AM in all my leagues where he was available. By the time I woke up it was too late for me. That should give you an idea of what others are thinking/doing. You can't let someone get this kind of talent for free, if he's available if your league make the add and see what happens.