- The Nationals took Stephen Strasburg with the first pick in the draft. This was a no-brainer. Strasburg, who turns 24 on July 20, has already accrued 5.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in his short major league career.
Washington also had the tenth pick in the draft. They drafted Drew Storen with the pick they received for failing to come to terms with Aaron Crow in the 2008 draft. Storen has already hit the bigs, made a mark, accrued 2.0 WAR and is recovering from elbow surgery. So the Nats had two chances at Trout and had one good reason for not taking him and one lousy reason like the other twenty teams you will read about. Imagine Trout and Bryce Harper on the same team. It could have been all theirs simply by the drafting.
- The Mariners took Dustin Ackley, now 24, who has accrued 4.8 WAR before his 600th Major League At Bat.
Their second pick was compensation for the Dodgers signing Orlando Hudson as a free agent. So even though the Dodgers were not one of the 21 teams to pass on drafting Trout, they could perhaps qualify as #21.5 as Trout would have been available when their pick (#17) appeared. But the Blueberries of Brooklyn signed the free agent O-Dog and the D-back took A.J. Pollock who made it to the majors this season at age 24 and hit .245 in limited playing time in the bigs.
So then the Angels took Trout, right? Well, no, not exactly. The Angels had the 24th pick but did not use it to pick Trout. Technically, the Angels were the 22nd team to pass on drafting Mike Trout when they chose Randall Grichuk. They had received this pick in the draft as compensation for the Mets signing Francisco Rodriguez. If Omar Minaya had not signed a prime free agent in the 08/09 offseason, Jersey Boy Trout might have been a Met. The Mets would have had pick #24 and Mike Trout would have been available. So like the Dodgers, this might count for a half-pass for New York's National league team. Grichuk, by the way, is six days younger than Trout and currently has an OPS of .710 at High-A Inland Empire.
It has been subsequently documented in interviews with Eddie Bane that the Angels had their sites squarely set on Trout all the way and took Grichuk ahead of him to assist in leveraging his asking price in case he asked them what they believed him to be worth. It turned out he was an easy sign. The Angels had the #25 pick and right after selecting Grichuk they selected Trout with that pick. This pick was awarded to them because the Yankees had signed Mark Teixeira. If the Angels had re-signed K-Rod and Teix, the Mets or Yankees surely would have drafted Trout. Wouldn't they have?
Well as it stands, 21 teams passed on Mike Trout. He has accrued 4.2 Wins Above replacement in less than 100 Major League Games played, with not even 330 At Bats in the bigs. And he is all ours in what can really only be described as stupidity on the part of many clubs or destiny on the part of one club.