Millville Senior High School product Mike Trout, 19, gets called up to the major leagues early Friday, July 8.
Trout’s arrival at second base as his home run touched the ground provides a glimpse of how fast Trout really is.
Perhaps Trout's rare speed serves as a good analogy for his professional baseball career in general. A little more than two years after that game, Trout has made it to the major leagues (skipping Triple-A) faster than almost any 19-year-old before him.
Trout, a 6’2’’, 220-pound centerfielder, attended Millville from 2005-2009.
He was a two-way player throughout high school, playing pitcher, shortstop, and, by his senior year, centerfield.
Trout followed up his First Team All- State season as a junior by batting .531 with 45 RBIs as a senior in 2009. That year, Trout went on to set the New Jersey high school single-season home-run record by hitting 18 dingers. He also went 5-1 with a 1.71 earned run average on the mound, en route to earning First Team All- State and First Team High School All- America honors.
“For me, I think he’s the most talented high school player I’ve seen,” says Dan McMaster, an associate baseball scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and current Cherry Hill High School West varsity baseball head coach, in an interview with Atlantic City Weekly.
“[When I saw him play for Millville], I was blown away with how quick his hands were and how much plate coverage he had at the dish. His speed is also unmatched. I remember the Phillies brought him in for a workout and he ran a 6.38 60 yard-dash.”
With the 25th overall selection in the June 2009 MLB draft, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected the then 17-year-old Trout, making him just the second high-school player from the southern New Jersey region to be selected in the first round of the draft (in 2005, Billy Rowell from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, N.J., went ninth overall to the Baltimore Orioles).
Trout had previously signed with East Carolina University on a baseball scholarship, but the situation he was presented with in Anaheim was too good to pass up, so he decided to turn pro.
Citing an Angels’ official, one report claimed that Trout received a $1.2 million signing bonus.
“There was definitely a chance of me going to college,” Trout tells Atlantic City Weekly. “But I got the right opportunity and I talked it over with my parents. I picked the right choice.”
Trout was an instant success upon starting his professional career.
In his first full season in the minors in 2010, Trout hit a combined .341 (173-508) with 28 doubles, nine triples, 10 home runs, 58 RBIs, 106 runs and 56 stolen bases in 81 games with the Angels’ Single-A affiliate, the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League, and 50 games with their High Single-A affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.
Trout’s key to success is nothing more than a childhood adage.
“I just go out there and have fun,” he says. “And if you’re not having fun, you’re not going to do too well. So that’s the way I look at it.”
Trout also has been fortunate enough to learn about professional baseball from his father, Jeff Trout, who played minor league ball in the Minnesota Twins organization as an infielder from 1983-1986.
“My dad playing professional baseball has helped me a lot,” Trout says.
“He told me about what I was going to have to go through. [He said] that it’s going to be a grind everyday and to just go out there and even if you’re not healthy … you just have to play through it and someday it’s all going to pay off.”
Following his 2010 season, Trout received a number of accolades. He was chosen as the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player and at just 19 years old (and two months), became the youngest player to ever win the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year award.
Earlier this year, both the MLB Network and ESPN’s Keith Law named Trout the top prospect in baseball. Scouts rave about his mental makeup, well-above-average speed, range in the outfield, and ability to hit for both power and average.
“[Trout] has the potential to become one of the best players in the game by his mid-20s,” ESPN "Insider" Keith Law wrote in his annual report of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
While it would be easy for him to get caught up in all of his early success, Trout has not let the hype surrounding him become a distraction.
“I just put all of [the media attention and awards] behind me, especially when I get out on the field,” Trout says.
Trout is not only playing like no other rookie in MLB history, he’s putting most Major League veterans to shame.
As a young child, Shawn Sanford thought his father, Jimmy Sanford, was an actual superhero.
Quinton Miller is a 6’1’’, 185-pound right-handed pitcher who attended Shawnee High School in Medford, N.J., Burlington County from 2004-2008.
See all of Atlantic City Weekly's custom-made baseball cards here. Just click each player icon to go to that player's card. Print out the fronts and backs for a full set.
“It freaked me out. I don’t really know exactly what happened next, but I dug down deep and decided that I’m either going to stop baseball and get a job, or I have to do something here. My last few games, I took the ball and threw it as hard as I possibly could.”
In the eighth episode of this multi-part series, the distinguished panel of Atlantic City historians and authors start to discuss the wild history of sporting events in the resort — from boxing and cat boxing to indoor football and Yankees baseball.
The baseball bean counters love to crunch the numbers this time of year, to look at WHIP and a bunch of other new stats I’ve never understood, in order to over-analyze the outcome of the post season.
Pop Lloyd played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues from 1906 to 1932, as a shortstop, second baseman and first baseman, including two stints with the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City. In 1910 he out-hit Ty Cobb in a Cuban winter league series — .500 to .385.
In 2010, Navarro wasn’t just remembered as the last player to take the field with Lloyd, on opposing teams, but was believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player anywhere.
AS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S regular season winds down this week (c’mon Phils, nail that NL East title down already!) and most of the playoff match-ups have been determined (this Red Sox fan would like to thank rival AL West division winners the Los Angeles Angels for beating the Texas Rangers Tuesday night, thus helping the Sox clinch the AL Wild Card spot) there’s a lot of fantastic baseball watching to be had this month.
The ultimate goal of the draft was to put together a Top-30 list of who would be the best players to start a baseball team with, if the baseball experts in the draft had to build their franchise around one single player. Trout was the 12pick overall.