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2012 AL West Prospect Update: Mike Trout Should Make Angels Better Soon

Mike Trout is hitting .435 through his first 11 games, and may soon force Los Angeles' hand to play him everyday in Anaheim.

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It's no secret that the Texas Rangers have been the most successful team in the American League for the past two years. You know, winning back-to-back pennants kind of earns you that title. A large part of Texas' success has been due to the fact that the Rangers have had one of the top farm systems in all of baseball, and this year, despite winning two consecutive pennants, the Rangers are again atop the Baseball America organizational farm system rankings.

Still, perhaps the best prospect in all of baseball belongs to the Los Angeles Angels -- and they might be getting a boost from in in Los Angeles sooner rather than later. Despite being sidelined by the flu in the spring, and a shoulder ailment late in the spring, uber-prospect Mike Trout has destroyed AAA pitching so far. Through his first 46 at bats with the Salt Lake Bees, Trout is hitting a staggering .435/.491/.652, with a double, three triples and a home run. Trout has swiped four bases and has drawn six walks against 10 strikeouts.

Oh yeah -- he doesn't even turn 21 until August.

Eventually, the Angels will have no choice but to play Trout everyday in Anaheim. Los Angeles' sending Mike Napoli to Toronto in exchange for Vernon Wells continues to haunt them, as the club feels pressured by the paychecks Wells receives to play him, even though he is no longer an everyday player.

What should Rangers fans expect from Trout when he eventually back up in the big leagues? It's tough to say, really. It's not every year that 20 year olds succeed in the majors, but Trout should be able to. He's one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues, and grades out as having 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. He'll be a plus defender no matter what position he's playing in the outfield, and if Peter Bourjos and Trout are playing at the same time, then Los Angeles' outfield defense will be among the very best, if not the best, in all of baseball.

How soon will we see Trout up? Unless an injury occurs in Los Angeles, probably not in the immediate future. If Trout keeps destroying AAA pitching, though, the Angels might be forced to call up Trout before June to bolster the offense in Anaheim.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.