We continue our countdown of the Angels Top 20 Minor League Prospects as discussed live on the March 29, 2011 episode of our LunchTime HaloTalk internet radio show with minor league analyst Ryan Ghan.
Rev Halofan: Okay, we'll this leads us to -- oh, man I wonder who is this going to be, who is the Angels' number one in your opinion, in your opinion alone? I don't want you to be trendy or have to conform to anybody else's theories here, but who is the Angels number one prospect?
Rghan: Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Mike Trout.
RevHF: (Laughs) Who? Who?
Rghan: Yeah, surprise, surprise. Yeah -- Mike Trout, there's no question. There's absolutely no question. One of the two best, maybe the best prospect in baseball, the guy who can do it all. A lot of folks entering this year were saying he does everything but hit for power, and maybe that will come. Well no, that's not quite right, because he is already hitting for power; furthermore, he is hitting for power the opposite way as a 19-year-old in High A, which is an extremely good indicator. What else can I say about Mike Trout that hasn't already been said? The guy does everything. He led Angels' Minor Leaguers in infield hits last year. So, he is running out the routine balls to shortstop. He is able to generate a hit out of an out. He goes the other way consistently. He makes solid contact the other way while still having the capacity to turn on the ball. The guy is just a phenomenal hitter with the sort of patience that we haven't seen out of the Angels' system for years. He keeps that walk percentage above 10%. Hopefully, he can maintain all of those skills in Double-A. Heh, I'm just rambling now, there's so much to say about this guy.
RevHF: Say it, say it.
Jim Gardner: Are there any worries since the Angels seem to have no track record of developing a patient hitter, that they -- kind of hate to say it, but ruin his approach or does he seem like he is special enough to just do the things he does?
Rghan: Yeah, I don't think they're going to mess with him. I really don't. Now, the Angels consider it their job to actually teach their guys to hit because they draft so many raw prep products, right? They consider it their job to teach hitting, and walks are just not a big part of that in the organizational philosophy. But Mike Trout, he showed up as a guy who could really hit, and walks are a big part of that game, so I don't think they're going to mess with that. I think they're going to let him do what he does.
RevHF: You're accusing him of being smart?
Rghan: (Laughs) I'm going to say it -- I've got a lot of good things to say about the Halos' player development program this year. I think the progress of Trumbo and Bourjos is a huge victory for them. These guys are developing and they're good hitters and they're doing it from nothing. I mean, these guys are not the previous generation. Kotchman, Wood, McPherson, those guys were known as more polished hitters when they entered the system and things went wrong as things tend to do with every team's developing prospects. I don't think our bust rate is especially high in that regard; these were supposedly polished hitters that showed up and then just never reached their potential. The current batch of prospects, with the exception of Mike Trout and you could say Hank Conger, the Angels have taught how to hit. They have gone from so-so Rookie League performances to making steady improvements each year, and now they're on the cusp of contributing to the major league club.
Jim Gardner: People are saying that we might expect to see him next year but he started at High A this year, is that right?
Rghan: No, they've been saying Double-A and they've been saying that now for a little over a month, so I think... I think the chances of a call up are good. Arkansas is a difficult place to hit, so his numbers might be depressed a little bit. I think it's a good choice. I think having to struggle a little bit now might be a really good idea, but I do think that he earns some form of September call-up. I really do think we will see him in Angels' uniform this year. I mean in a very minor role unless a whole lot of contingencies come up. I do think we will see him later this year.
Jim Gardner: Cool.
RevHF: This is it! This is the season!
Rghan: (Laughs) I mean again, like I think that even it's just walking on the field on September 15th or 20th, I think he'll be there in a big league uniform.
Mike Trout made his major league debut on July 8 and has been impressive in limited playing time as a 3rd/4th outfielder. He hit his first major league HR at age 19. Now 20, he gets put in the lineup by Mike Scioscia occasionally.