For Angels fans, it’s easy in hindsight to look back and cruse their team for not starting the season with Mark Trout on the Opening Day roster. But on the other hand, would Angels fans dare to imagine where their club would be right now had Mike Scioscia and Co. not made the call to bring the 20-year-old phenom up to the big leagues?
It was April 27th. The Los Angeles Angels were 6-14, and for a team that was supposed to be a World Series shoo-in, some were already declaring the Halos’ 2012 season was over. Yet thankfully, because of injuries and several key players under-producing, the Angels were practically forced to call up Trout sooner than they had originally intended.
But the super-prospect was only supposed to get his feet wet and help out until other guys returned from injury. Yeah, well Trout had other plans—like basically single-handedly saving the Angels’ season.
Through 51 games and 233 plate appearances, Trout is hitting .338/.399/.531 with seven home runs, 43 runs scored and 29 RBI. He now leads the majors in average, leads the AL with 21 stolen bases, he’s 10th in slugging, sixth in OPS and boasts a UZR of 7.3, ranking him third among qualified American League outfielders.
But what most people always fail to take into account is that the MVP award isn’t based solely on statistics—it actually matters how “valuable” you are to your team.
The numbers don’t lie. The Angels are 34-19 since Trout debuted in late April, and 22-8 in their last 30 games. You could call it a coincidence if you’d like, but consider yet another stat. At Trout’s current pace, his +3.5 wins above replacement will soon supplant Josh Hamilton (+3.6 WAR) as the American League leader in this category.
Again, Trout is only 20, and some voters may feel that is too young for a guy who didn’t even start the season with the big-league club to earn the honor of being named MVP. But if he continues to produce, and the Angels keep winning, is it so far-fetched to believe that Trout could become the youngest player in MLB history to be named MVP?