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Angels' Mike Trout is minor league player of the year

Rookie led the Texas League in many offensive stats. He has helped Angels stay in the AL West race.

September 07, 2011|By Kevin Baxter and Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels' Mike Trout hit .326 in 91 games for double-A Arkansas this summer with 13 triples, 11 homers and 33 stolen bases in 43 tries.
Angels' Mike Trout hit .326 in 91 games for double-A Arkansas this… (Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images )

Angels outfielder Mike Trout has been selected the minor league player of the year by Baseball America magazine.

The Angels' top pick — and the 25th overall selection—in the 2009 draft, Trout hit .326 in 91 games for double-A Arkansas this summer with 13 triples, 11 homers and 33 stolen bases in 43 tries.

Despite spending most of July and August in the major leagues, Trout led the Texas League in hitting, on-base percentage (.414) and OPS (.958). He finished in the top five in steals and runs (82).

Trout, in his second stint with the Angels, entered Tuesday night with a .241 average, five home runs and 14 runs batted in in 27 games while playing outstanding defense in all three outfield spots.

Trout, 20, is the second Angel to win the prestigious award since Baseball America began presenting it in 1981. Outfielder Tim Salmon won in 1992.

Tampa Bay prospect Matt Moore, who went 12-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average for double-A Montgomery and triple-A Durham, finished second to Trout in the balloting. Moore had 210 strikeouts and 46 walks in 155 innings, holding opponents to a .184 average.

The Trout Effect

Trout's big league numbers, with the exception of his home-to-first times, are not off the charts, but there is one eye-popping statistic: The Angels are 18-4 in games he has started.

"That's just part of the Lore of Trout — or the Lure of Trout?" veteran outfielder Vernon Wells joked, pun intended.

Trout is a dynamic two-way player with speed, power, plate discipline and good defensive instincts, and he has injected some much-needed life into an offense that averaged 6.6 runs in 16 games entering Tuesday.

Since being recalled Aug. 19, Trout is hitting .317 (13 for 41) with four homers, 11 runs and eight RBIs in 14 games.

"His last 30 at-bats or so, it's been very tangible what he's brought to our club," said Manager Mike Scioscia, who did not start Trout against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday night.

Wells and Bobby Abreu have also picked up the pace offensively in recent weeks, but Scioscia dismissed the idea that Trout has lit a fire under the struggling veterans.

"I think he's given guys a chance to [escape] the grind, and that's had a positive effect," Scioscia said. "When guys are struggling and they have to play a lot because we don't have options, sometimes it spirals in the wrong direction."

Minor leaguer suspended

Outfielder Ercilio De La Cruz, who helped the Angels' Dominican Summer League team to a league championship, was suspended for 50 games Tuesday. He is the first Angels prospect this season to violate the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.

De La Cruz, an 18-year-old switch-hitter from Santo Domingo, tested positive for an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. He hit .231 in 47 games, scoring 30 runs and stealing 13 bases.

He will serve his penalty at the start of next season.

Recall notice

The Angels on Tuesday recalled utility players Alexi Amarista and Gil Velazquez from triple-A Salt Lake, bringing their current roster to 33 players.

Amarista played 20 games with the Angels earlier this season, batting .146 with two doubles and four RBIs. Velazquez appeared in nine big league games with the Boston Red Sox in 2008 and 2009.

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