Trout a great catch

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout catches a Baltimore Orioles batter J.J. Hardy (not...

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout catches a Baltimore Orioles batter J.J. Hardy (not pictured) home run in the first inning during their MLB American League baseball game in Baltimore, Maryland, June 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Patrick Smith)

BOB ELLIOT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

TORONTO - How good is this kid Mike Trout?

Promoted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 28, Trout leads the American League with a .345 average going into Friday’s game at the Rogers Centre.

“Aside from the fact that he does not switch hit, he reminds me of Mickey Mantle,” said a veteran scout. “I said it in 2011 when I first saw him in (double-A) Texas League.”

Wow!

Mantle could hit for average and power. Trout leads all rookies with eight homers.

Mantle could run. Trout leads all rookies stealing 21 of 24 bases.

Mantle could field. And if you missed it, Trout can go get ’em.

He showed great vertical leap and exact timing to chase down a home run bid from Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

We asked a scout if he’d ever seen a vertical leap like that before.

“Yeah, all the time ... watching TV when the NBA games are shown,” he said.

Listed at 6-foot-1, Trout said he could dunk the basketball playing at Millville Senior High Thunderbolts in Millville, N.J.

“Springy youthful legs,” said Vernon Wells. “He made a difficult catch look easy and timed it perfectly.”

Speedy Peter Bourjos used to be the Angels every day centre fielder and could start for, oh maybe about 15 teams.

“He beats me down the line,” Bourjos said. “Maybe I could beat him around the bases. Maybe.”

Our society nowadays is instant ... everything is either immediately pronounced the best, the greatest or the worst.

Such has been the case with Trout’s grab.

“You hate to say anything is ever the best,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, “but I’ve never ever seen a better catch in the outfield.”

A first rounder himself, the manager broke in at Bellingham in 1976 and was squatting for the Los Angeles Dodgers at age 21.

The added dimension to Trout’s grab was that his leap was in front of four high school pals who made the drive from Jersey to Baltimore.

Replays show him turning after making the catch against the Southwest.com logo.

“I watched the replay, all my friends were in the front row, the two girls are hiding from the ball, the guys were standing,” said Trout. “After the catch they were going crazy.”

Starter Jared Weaver tipped his cap.

Trout turns 21 in August.

Where should most high schoolers from the 2011 draft be?

Here’s where they are:

Outfielder Donovan Tate was recently promoted to class-A Lake Elsinore, Matthew Hobgood at class-A Aberdeen (Baltimore Orioles), Zach Wheeler at double-A Binghamton (New York Mets), Jacob Turner has pitched four games with the Detroit Tigers, Tyler Matzek at class-A Modesto (Colorado Rockies), Matt Purke at class-A Hagerstown (Washington Nationals), Bobby Borchering at class-A Visailia (Arizona Diamondbacks), lefty Chad James at class-A Jupiter (Florida Marlins), Jiovanni Mier at class-A Bakersfield (Houston Astros) and Randal Grichuk, class-A Indland Empire (Angels).

All were picked before Angels legendary scouting director Eddie Bane chose Trout.

The Jays first rounder from 2010, right-hander Chad Jenkins, from Kennesaw State University, is 4-6 with a 5.01 ERA at double-A New Hampshire.

The Angels have had one batting champ in franchise history when Alex Johnson hit .329 in 1970. The youngest to win a batting crown was Al Kaline of the 1955 Detroit Tigers, roughly four months younger than Trout.

Who can decide the greatest catch ever?

Torii Hunter can.

For when it comes to aficionados of outfield grabs, Hunter belongs in any discussion.

“It’s top five,” said Hunter. “With the Rangers Gary Matthews Jr. ran to the fence, stepped on the wall and stole a home run from Mike Lamb, I don’t think that catch can be repeated. I remember Jim Edmonds making a great one over his shoulder.”

And you HAVE to be in there, the visitor suggested.

“There was the catch off Barry Bonds in the all-star game in Milwaukee, with the Twins catching a ball off Carlos Lee. The next day my side was sore. It wasn’t from hitting the wall. We had the baggie, it was from stretching so far. And with the Angels I brought back one against Kansas City.”

Hunter went over the wall to steal a game-tying homer from Miguel Olivio on Mother’s Day 2009.

We’ll put Trout’s running grab into the top three with Hunter’s Wisconsin robbery on Bonds and Devon White’s doing a face plant into the SkyDome wall to steal a hit from David Justice in the 1992 World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

You remember White’s catch ... it starter the triple play that wasn’t a triple play.

 

 


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