4) Mike Trout, 8/7/91 - CF, Rookie League and A-Ball
Ranking in a Nutshell: Upside in spades, and more polish than anyone could have hoped for. His numbers were very good in his pro-ball debut, and he impressed with his ability to use the opposite field, make game changing plays in center, and run the bases effectively; moreover, the general consensus is that 6'1, 200 lbs Trout still has plenty of potential remaining.
Track Record: Trout broke the New Jersey state high school record for homeruns, mashing 18 in his senior season. To maximize his draft value, he played centerfield that year, though he had earned all state honors in 2008 for his work on the mound, where he hit 90 mph and put up a 1.77 ERA. Once in Arizona, he contributed on all sides of the game and even made a run at the batting title against much older competition, claiming second place in the end. After the AZL Angels were eliminated, he jumped to the Midwest League to help in their playoff run, where he did not look overmatched against the tougher competition.
Win-the-Lottery-Ceiling: Your classic five-tool outfielder. In Arizona he showed the bat, the glove, and the speed. There's some concern about the carry and accuracy on his throws from the outfield, but given his amateur track record on the mound, you know that the arm strength is there. He has the build to project for power, but that will likely be the last tool to emerge. The most common comp that I've seen is Aaron Rowand with more speed - the intangibles, the power, and the defense - but Trout could still develop more patience than that.
Scouting Report: (beneath the jump)
At this stage, Trout's legs are his best tool. He swiped 13 bags in 39 Arizona games, but the speed also played well in the outfield, where TotalZone has him at 9 runs above average in limited playing time. While current thinking has Trout eventually moving to right field in deference to Pete Bourjos' other-worldly centerfield defense, Trout could himself be a difference maker up the middle if he retains his speed.
You can see the MLB pre-draft footage of him here. The swing is quick, compact, and line drive oriented with little loft or extension out front. Although he remains tall during the cut, a quick pivot incorporates his body well and at the point of contact he generates significant leverage. In a late summer interview he said that the Angels were having him focus on hitting the ball to the opposite field, where he drove 30% of his hits, but he obviously turned on the ball plenty in high school. Alex Eisenberg does a nice job breaking down Trout's "inside out" swing mechanics here, where he also ranks him the top prospect in the Angels' organization (a popular, but by no means universal, opinion this offseason) Baseball America projects Trout for average power (12-16 home runs), while Eisenberg said in his interview with Halos Heaven that he believes Trout could develop into a 15-20 HR threat. The polish that Trout flashed with a 15% walk rate in July was a pleasant surprise, but faded in August. His already modest K-rate regressed too, so he's not yet showing any problems with controlling the strike zone, but that will be thing to look for in full season ball.