If the Los Angeles Angels catch up to the Texas Rangers after the slow start they had, it will be because of a couple of other hitters in the lineup besides Albert Pujols. Oh, Pujols will have to pull his weight, and after a dreadful beginning flailing around the American League for a month, he has advertised his notable skills quite dramatically.
Nope, the key guys who must do what they have been doing to lift the Angels are Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. A sterling illustration of their value and contributions was on display Tuesday night when the Angels clobbered the San Francisco Giants, 12-5.
On this night Trout went four-for-four and scored four runs while raising his average to .337. Trumbo went 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in five while raising his average to .326. Oh, Pujols had a fine game, too, but with the one-two punch of the other guys it wasn’t as essential.
Trout has the makings of a huge star and that has been pretty much known since he was a high schooler in Millville, New Jersey. This guy was the Minor League Player of the Year in 2010 and then he did it again, Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, too. Not bad.
Still, the Angels were hesitant to push Trout along to the majors coming out of spring training. That’s because he is only 20 years old, not turning 21 until August. So he started the season with the Salt Lake Bees in AAA ball.
Although he followed a more traditional route than that other new face on the up-and-coming star list, Trout’s ascension is fairly comparable to Bryce Harper‘s. Since he has moved to the majors April 28, Trout acts as if he is a keeper. The young outfielder is the one doing the catch-and-release these days with his fielding and throwing in addition to hitting.
At 26, Trumbo is older and made his mark last year, although given how West Coast players are typically less scrutinized when they break in because so much of the country falls asleep before their night games conclude, it took a while for his name to become better known.
Better yet for the Angels, he is local, born in Anaheim. Last year Trumbo became the club’s regular first baseman and smacked 29 homers with 87 RBIs. He was the runner-up for the National League rookie-of-the-year award behind Tampa Bay pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
Trout and Trumbo are pretty darned well known in Southern California by now, but less so among routine fans at parks around the league. It takes time to build a following, time to build awareness of a reputation. Trumbo is in his second year of proving his worth. Trout is matching the Nationals’ Harper without the same hype.
Pujols may be a star of such magnitude that he outshines everything around him, but Trout and Trumbo might well be All-Stars soon themselves.
Tags: Albert Pujols All-Star Bryce Harper Jeremy Hellickson Los Angeles Angels Mark Trumbo Mike Trout Minor League Player Of The Year Salt Lake Bees San Francisco Giants Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Washington Nationals