Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 6/27/12
Mike Trout has transitioned from talented rookie to unbelievable talent in one smooth leap. He used to be a phenom, but it's quite possible that the right word hasn't yet been invented yet to describe the things he does. So how about "Troutacular"? Really, there's no other way to describe the Angels' 20-year-old outfielder, who takes his game to new levels almost every night. Wednesday night in Baltimore, it was a marvelous leaping catch at the center field wall to steal a home run from JJ Hardy in the bottom of the first inning. But Trout's catches sometimes go beyond description. You have to see them to believe them. In this case, he sprinted to the fence, leaped into the air (manager Mike Scioscia said later that he never saw a player jump that high), stretched his arm above his head and grabbed the ball just before slamming the wall with all the force of his body. Trout had to look into his glove to make sure he had the ball, and when he saw it was still there, he ran back toward his position and pounded his fist against his chest, smiling all the way. He watched it on the video screen and tapped gloves with right fielder Torii Hunter. The last time we saw a player erupt with such joy after making a similar catch was a young Ken Griffey Jr. in one of his earliest games with the Seattle Mariners. Trout's catch phrase is, "I'm just having fun out there," and that's how he plays the game. Whether he's running the bases, driving balls into the gap or diving for fly balls, he plays with the happy abandon of a kid in the backyard. He's not too many years removed from those days. Trout grew up in Millville, N.J., about a two-hour drive from Camden Yards. He's only three years past high school and he's already playing against many of the stars he once admired, among them the Yankees' Derek Jeter. Trout had four hits against the Orioles in the Angels' 13-1 rout, giving him an American League-leading .344 average. He ranks first in stolen bases (21), third in on-base average (.402) is tied for ninth in runs (47) and first in thrills all despite missing the first 27 games of the season because he was in the minors. Understandably, he's not on the AL All-Star Game ballot, but rest assured, he'll be in Kansas City for the game. Whether he makes it via the players' ballot or is the choice of manager Ron Washington, his talent deserves the national platform that only the All-Star game offers. In the meantime, Angels fans can appreciate his performances every night.
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