Mike Trout, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 prospect
in baseball, enjoyed the best game of his young career Tuesday afternoon as his visiting Arkansas Travelers cruised to a 9-4 win over the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.
The 19-year-old center fielder homered twice, including a grand slam, en route to a three-hit, five-RBI day. It was both the first grand slam and multi-homer game of Trout's career, and the five RBIs were a personal best as well.
Nonetheless, he was man of few words when asked about the accomplishment.
"It was a great day; I felt real good at the plate," said Trout, who combined to hit .331 with 10 home runs and 56 stolen bases over 131 games split between Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in 2010. "All I wanted to do was go out there and help get a 'W' for the team."
Trout's slam capped a five-run second-inning rally, one in which RoughRiders starter Wilfredo Boscan was unable to record an out. Marvin Lowrance, Orlando Mercado and Adam Younger opened with consecutive singles, and Jay Brossman walked to force in a run. Trout, the Travs' leadoff hitter, then blasted Boscan's 1-2 breaking ball over the left-field fence to bust the ballgame wide open.
"In that situation, I was choked up a little bit, and just wanted to put the ball in play," said Trout, one of the Angels' first-round picks in the 2009 Draft. "But [Boscan] gave me a good pitch to hit. I hit it good, and fortunately I was able to get it out of the ballpark."
By this point, Arkansas had all the runs it would need, although Trout wasn't done yet. He legged out an infield single in the third before coming through with yet another dinger in the fifth, this one against right-handed reliever Mark Hamburger.
"I had two strikes on me again -- I think it was even the same count [1-2]," said Trout. "Same pitch, same result."
Tuesday's matinee was the last of a six-game road trip to start the season for the Travelers, and over this span, both the team and its star player have gradually heated up. Arkansas has won two straight after four losses to begin the season, while Trout has hit safely in each of the last four games.
"I think what was needed was confidence, because once you're out there on the field, you can't be thinking too much," he said. "It just becomes -- go out there, have fun and get the win."
Trout enters the season with plenty of hype and attention, having been selected a Futures Game All-Star last year before being named the Midwest League's Prospect of the Year and Most Valuable Player. A Midwest midseason and postseason All-Star, the New Jersey native earned himself an invite to Angels camp this spring as well.
Trout's heroics made a winner out of Garrett Richards (1-0), who allowed four runs on three hits and three walks over five frames. Robert Fish, Matt Meyer and Chris Scholl then combined on four scoreless innings of relief. After a day off Wednesday, the Travelers open up their home campaign with a three-game series against the Midland RockHounds. This provides the team with a quick opportunity for revenge, as the 'Hounds swept Arkansas to start the season.
"It would be great [to sweep Midland], but all we can do is win one game at a time," said Trout. "Everyone's goal here is to make the playoffs and then win a championship."