Blue Jays: Comparing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to other teen call-ups
2011- Mike Trout
If we’re going to talk about Bryce Harper, then it only feels natural to follow it up by looking at Mike Trout and his debut season at 19 years old in 2011. The Angels’ franchise player is another positive example of early success, as he’s been turning heads since he first arrived in the Show.
He only played in 40 games as a teenager and hit just .220/.281/.390 in 135 at bats, but it set him up well for his first full season in 2012. That year he slashed .326/.399/.564 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI, 49 stolen bases, and a ridiculous 10.5 bWAR. He won the Rookie of the Year award, finished 2nd in MVP voting, and was also named as a Silver Slugger, and an All-Star.
With all due respect to Harper, I view Trout as the best player of this generation, especially because of the 5-tool skill set he brings to the ballpark. He’s now 26 years old and has already earned 4.0 bWAR in 2018, so he hasn’t exactly slowed down from that epic rookie season in 2012.
Would Trout have benefitted from a longer stint in the minor leagues? I guess it’s possible, but can you imagine what he would have done to minor league pitching in 2012 if he was doing THAT in the big leagues? He’s another clear cut example that when you’re at the next level of talent, you can skip over a few steps.
The Angels are finally in a position to contend again with a team built around their franchise star, and there’s little to no debate about how his development was handled. He’s on a Hall of Fame course at this stage in his career, so I guess you could say it went just fine.