The way Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington see it, it is fine to heap praises on outstanding Los Angeles Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout. But there is a limit, Washington said.
And that threshold is reached when Trout, who is just 20 years old, is compared to all-time great Willie Mays.
That’s where Washington takes a stand.
“He’s not Willie Mays,” Washington said after the Angels beat the Rangers 7-4 on Sunday night. “He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play.”
Trout has only been doing it for a little more than half of his first season, but he is doing it so well. There does not appear to be a weakness in his games.
The numbers tell some of the story: He leads the American League in batting (.357), runs (70) and steals (31), went 5-for-10 with a home run and a triple in the three-game series against Washington’s team, walking three times and scoring four runs.
With a 3-and-1 count in the first inning, instead of looking forwa a walk, Trout lined a triple to the right-field corner and scored on Albert ground-rule double, the 14th straight game he has scored, which ties the AL rookie record.
His 70 runs scored already are an AL rookie record, breaking a mark that had been shared by Jake Powell (Washington Senators, 1935) and Don Lenhardt (St. Louis Browns, 1950).
“When we have Trout on base, there’s a pretty good chance that we’re going to score,” Pujols said.
Trout, who turns 21 in August, is trying to become the third-youngest player to win a batting title going back to 1900, trailing only Al Kaline and Ty Cobb, who both won batting titles at age 20.
But it’s Trout’s remarkable defensive abilities that have also inspired Mays comparisons. He covers a lot of ground and has made spectacular catches in the outfield – something May did with regularity.
“When he’s been here (playing like this for) five years, six years, then you can start doing (comparing him to May),” Washington said.