Captains of the outfield in Major League Baseball, the list of legendary MLB center fielders is a long one. From Willie Mays to Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle, having solid range left and right, being fleet of foot, and wielding a big bat, are trademarks of the best middle-fielders in baseball. In the here and now – few are better than LA Angels CF Mike Trout. Here’s what makes the Millville Meteor so marvellous.
Who Is Mike Trout?
Encouraged by his father Jeff, who was drafted but never played for the Minnesota Twins, Trout’s first step to stardom was in Cal Ripken Baseball (ages 4–12) in the Babe Ruth League. Officially listed as being born in Vineland, NJ, Mike Trout is known as the Millville Meteor as his illustrious baseball career started to blossom at Millville Senior High School in New Jersey, where he stared as a baseball and basketball player. Choosing wisely, Trout eventually turned his full focus to hardball.
Trout began playing as a pitcher and shortstop before moving to the outfield during his senior year at Millville HS. Highly touted from a young age, Trout got his first taste of the “big league life” when he toured with the Tri-State Arsenal Baseball organization. Highly scouted tournaments, like the Perfect Game WWBA Championships in Florida and the Area Code Games in California, helped introduce this budding star to MLB scouts like Greg Morhardt of the LA Angels organization.
Mike Trout Stats
Mike Trout has put up stats that make him the best positional player taken during the 2009 Major League Baseball draft. The crowd erupted with applause when Trout was selected 25th overall as the draft was held in Secaucus, NJ, which is 125 miles south of Trout’s hometown. Similar to sports betting, in that picks can be hit or miss, the draft in any sport can produce generational superstars and outright busts. Trout, along with Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (1st OA) are in the former while OF Donavan Tate (3rd OA Padres) and RHP Matt Hobgood (5th OA Orioles) are in the latter. After a short but stellar stint in the minors – Trout made a successful MLB migration.
Not a Disneyland style magical start, though not a harbinger of things to come, Trout joined the Angels as a 19-year-old in 2011 and had just 27 hits over 135 plate appearances good for a .220 batting average. The stats needle has been pointing upward ever since though as Trout posted a .311 BA during 3,037 at bats from April 2012 until he went on the six to eight week disabled list with a thumb injury on May 28, 2017. Trout was the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year and finished second to Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera in AL MVP voting. From 2013 to 2016 Trout was the MLB MVP twice (’14 and ’16) and the runner up during the other two seasons.
Best Center Fielders In MLB
To be The Guy – one must do things that mimic The Guy. We mentioned three of the best ever MLB center fielders in our lead-in and, although he is still early in his career, Trout is worthy of being in the conversation when discussing the greats of the game. Willie Mays (.302) Ty Cobb (.366) and Mickey Mantle (.298) where superstars in the outfield and Trout’s .308 career batting average to date (one-third into the 2017 MLB season) is certainly up there with those three Hall of Fame players. Generally speaking, a World Series ring is all that is missing from Trout's resume.
Although pretty much in a league of his own these days, as it pertains to stud center fielders, there are a few players attempting to steal some of Trout’s thunder. Slightly overshadowed by teammates Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez, who are both MLB All-Stars, Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon has been a huge key to revival of the Rockies (35-23) in Mile High Country. Second to Trout in batting average (.337 to .326) and slugging percentage (.742 to .606) Blackmon leads the Majors with 47 RBI as of June 4, 2017, and those numbers have the Rockies in MLB playoff contention.
Also the “best center fielders in MLB” conversation, New York Yankees CF Aaron Hicks is having a breakout season as his batting average (.321) and on base percentage (.434) are both well above his .233 and .314 career numbers. Chicago White Sox CF Leury Garcia (.292) and Atlanta Braves CF Ender Inciarte (.284) round out the top five outfield Generals when it comes to hitting this season. Third overall in RBI (24) and second in home runs (14) CF George Springer has helped the Houston Astros to an MLB best 40-16 record and a runaway 12.5 game lead in the AL West Division.
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