Angels promote top prospect Mike Trout to big leagues
The Angels clubhouse remained closed for about 25 minutes after Thursday night's 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners, a good 15 minutes longer than usual, so that Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Tony Reagins could determine roster options in the wake of a right hamstring injury to speedy center fielder Peter Bourjos.
Just before midnight came the result of those discussions: The Angels called up top prospect Mike Trout, a 19-year-old outfielder who last winter was named by several websites as the top prospect in all of baseball, from double-A Arkansas. A subsequent roster move will be made before Friday night's game against the Mariners.
Trout, also a speedy center fielder, gives the Angels outfield coverage for Bourjos, who is not expected to play the final three games before the All-Star break but may not have to go onto the disabled list. The Angels are expected to demote a reliever to triple-A Salt Lake to clear a roster spot for Trout and use starter Tyler Chatwood out of the bullpen this weekend.
Trout played in last year's Futures Game and was selected to play in Sunday's Futures Game in Phoenix, He was batting .330 with a .422 on-base percentage, nine home runs, 11 triples, 12 doubles, 27 runs batted in, 69 runs and 28 stolen bases in 74 games at Arkansas.
A 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, he was rated the top prospect in baseball by ESPN.com, MLB.com and the MLB Network last winter. He is as fast as Bourjos and an excellent defender, though not quite as polished and spectacular as Bourjos. Trout's hitting eye and maturity, however, are very advanced for a player who won't turn 20 until August.
Not to put any pressure on Trout, but he will wear uniform No. 27, last worn by former Angels slugger and 2004 American League most valuable player Vladimir Guerrero. Trout, who recently played in the double-A all-star game, was a first-round pick, the 25th overall selection, of the 2009 draft.
At age 19 years, 335 days as of Friday, Trout will be the youngest player to make his big-league debut for the Angels since May 30, 1971, when Andy Hassler debuted at age 19 years, 224 days. The last four position players to make their major league debut before turning 20 were Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Jose Reyes and Wilson Betemit.
[For the Record, July 8 6:13 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly said the Futures Game would be played on Monday.]
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Mike Trout. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images