Trout working to stick in Angels' outfield

Trout working to stick in Angels' outfield

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Someday, Angels prospect Mike Trout will reminisce about his 2011 season.

One day, the young outfielder will look back on all the Minor League accolades, he'll recall his big league debut against the Mariners and he'll think about that wonderful night last summer in Baltimore when he hit in his first big league home run in front of family and friends, who had traveled from from his hometown of Millville, N.J., to see him play.

But that day isn't coming anytime soon. Trout, who started in center field for the East Division in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game on Saturday at Surprise Stadium, still has plenty of work to do. The center fielder, who is ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects List, knows he is not a finished product yet, but he's confident he will be one soon.

"I've just tried to come out and work hard every day, hit the weights and stay mentally and physically strong," said Trout, who was selected by the Angels in the first round (25th pick) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

"I'm playing in November. It's the first time ever I have played in November. It's been a long year, but this what you want to be a part of. You have to do this to improve."

It's already been a season to remember for Trout. He was named the 2011 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America after hitting .326 with 18 doubles, 13 triples, 11 home runs, 82 runs scored and 33 stolen bases for Double-A Arkansas.

He's currently hitting .268 with five doubles and two RBIs in 19 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. He also hit .220 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 40 games for the Angels.

Including Saturday's Rising Stars Game, he's already played in a career-high 151 games this season. He turned 20 on Aug. 7.

"It's definitely a grind because it's been a long year, but you just have to stay with it mentally," he said. "It's been a crazy year, a whirlwind for me but it's been fun. I've had a chance to meet new people and get to play with a bunch of great guys. It's been a great experience all year."

Trout was the youngest player to appear in the Major Leagues last season when he made his debut on July 7. Seventeen days later, he became the first teenager since Arizona's Justin Upton to homer when he hit his first big league home run on July 24.

Three-and-a-half months later, Trout is still on the field trying to hone his craft. Off the field, he watches his more experienced teammates prepare for games and he learns from them. Trout has a daily routine now.

He's trying to become a finished product.

"The World Series just ended last week. The playoffs just ended and that's what you are here playing for," he said. "You work toward that goal. You have to get better. That never stops, so you keep grinding."

Trout's positive attitude will serve him well. The Angels' depth chart features Peter Bourjos in center field, Vernon Wells in left and Torii Hunter in right. It's unclear where Trout will start the 2012 season.

"I'm just going to go out there and do the best I can and put up some good numbers, and see where they put me," Trout said. "I know for a fact that they will put me in the right spot, be it Double-A, Triple-A or big leagues or whatever. I know they are going to make the right choice and I'm going to trust them."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.