The Los Angeles Angels have the fortune of writing in the name of a surefire Hall of Famer into their center field slot everyday, and that began on this day 10 years ago when the Halos made the move to call up Mike Trout on April 28, 2012.
In just 10 years, Trout has already filled up the trophy cabinet with hardware for a lifetime.
The three-time MVP, eight-time Silver Slugger, and nine-time All-Star already has himself on a path to baseball immortality even if he retired today, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon.
His career 77.3 WAR puts him in the top-75 on the all-time rankings and Trout is performing like the player much of the baseball world refers to as the best in the game.
To make room for Trout, the Angels released 18-year veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu. Abreu spent four seasons with the Angels, and although his best years were behind him, he was always a model of consistency, posting a .364 on-base percentage and an OPS+ of 114.
This wasn’t a passing of the torch moment, but it was something special to watch the closing of one career and the start of another great one. Trout’s rookie season earned him an invite to the All-Star game, a Silver Slugger and a second-place finish for MVP, which he lost to Miguel Cabrera, who had 3.4 less WAR than Trout.
After the season, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year for the 2012 season.
MLB was looking at a phenom in the making, but still, to them, Trout was a 20-year-old from New Jersey drafted in the first round in 2009.
Trout previously experienced a short stint at the Major League level during the 2011 season but hit just .220/.281/.390 in 40 games.
Trout sets franchise record
In the bottom of the first inning, Trout hit a home run to right-center field on a 110 mph line drive off Spenser Watkins. It was his third homer of the season and cut the Orioles’ lead in half 2-1.
That score remained until the fifth inning when Trout pulled a ball to deep left field off Watkins on a 106 mph fly ball that cleared the fence. It was another two home run days for Trout, who has done that fairly often in his career.
Specifically, it was the 21st time in his career that he’s hit two long balls in a single game, which is more than any other Angels player in franchise history has done it.