The next A-Rod? Nation's top prospect playing in our backyard

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SALT LAKE CITY — I don't think people realize how good these guys are. If they did, they would be there every night when they are in town. Of course I am talking about the Salt Lake Bees.

These guys are major leaguers. They are one injury, one trade, one anything from getting a legit shot at sticking in the big leagues and becoming the next "one".

A few years ago it was Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver, and Erick Aybar. Not to mention Kendrys Morales, Peter Bourjos, and countless others who have come through the Pacific Coast League. Before the Bees were affiliated with the LA Angels, it was the Stingers and Chone Figgins, and before that it was the Buzz and Torii Hunter and David Ortiz.

So who is the next one? Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Michael N. Trout.

Salt Lake Bees center fielder Mike Trout beats the throw to third base in Salt Lake City Sunday, April 15, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Salt Lake Bees center fielder Mike Trout beats the throw to third base in Salt Lake City Sunday, April 15, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Trout plays in centerfield for the Bees. He was born in 1991. The kid is 20 years old. Last season as a 19 year old, he was called up to the Angels and the smile never actually left his face. He played in 40 games. He recorded 135 plate appearances. He had 27 hits with six doubles and five home runs, 16 RBI, four stolen bases and .220 batting average - at 19 years old! He looked like he belonged.

The Angels are pretty stacked this season, even though they have not started the season well. They are 4-8 as they have been notoriously slow out of the gate.

The Angels in the outfield (I know) this season are Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos, Vernon Wells, and Bobby Abreu. It is pretty crowded. The Halos were apparently trying to trade Abreu but that hasn't happened yet.

That brings us to Trout. Because of these circumstances, Salt Lake has one of the best prospects right here in our city.

My good friend and play-by-play voice of the Bees Steve Klauke told me, "[Trout] is probably the most complete player for his age that I have seen in this league since I saw a 19 year old shortstop for Tacoma in 1995 named Alex Rodriguez. He does not have the power that A-Rod showed early on, but he can hit for average, has speed, great glove and range in the outfield and the Angels believe that Trout can develop some power to be a 20 HR guy in the majors. People just have to remember that Mike doesn't even turn 21 until August."

So far this season he has started with a 14-game hitting streak and multiple hits in most games.

Last Friday in the Bees home opener he hit a two-run stand-up triple to the left center gap. This guy is nails.

Pretty soon he will get called up and be playing every day for the Angels. This kid is 20 years old.

My hope is that the people in Utah will take the time to take in some Bees games. Mike Trout is a special talent. He is hitting a scorching .385 so far this season.

The Bees are winning. Go watch him. He may not be here for long.


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Mike Grant


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