Who would have thought a rookie who hit just .220 in 40 games during late 2011 would emerge one season later as a legitimate MVP candidate? How about a 20-year old that didn't even start the season in the majors? Well, that's just what Mike Trout has done. Through 78 games entering play Saturday, Trout is leading the American League in batting average (.354), runs scored (75) and stolen bases (31), and is second in OPS (1.012). He's also put up solid numbers in home runs (16) and RBI (49).
The day of Trout's promotion to the big club (April 28), the Angels found themselves in the AL West cellar at 7-14. Albert Pujols was in a major slump, and the team simply could score enough runs to support their pitching staff. Since Trout's promotion to the big club, the Angels have gone 48-31, and have put themselves back in the thick of the playoff race, and are currently just 4.0 games back of the Rangers for the lead in the AL West.
Though it's hard to discount the numbers that Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton (.284 average, 28 home runs, 84 runs batted in) has put up, he's batting just .190 since June 1st. Truth be told, there's a lot of players having really good seasons in the American League, but no player has distinguished himself from the rest of the pack. While it might be a bit of a long-shot that the sports writers give the award to a 20 year old outfielder, most didn't think that Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander would take home the award in 2011.