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Baltimore a semi-homecoming for Trout

Baltimore a semi-homecoming for Trout

Baltimore a semi-homecoming for Trout
BALTIMORE -- This, in some ways, is a homecoming for Mike Trout.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the start of the Angels' nine-game road trip, sits about a two-hour drive from the small town of Millville, N.J., where Trout grew up. So, for this two-game set, nearly 10 reporters came out to write stories about the 20-year-old phenom, with roughly 10 members of his family, including his parents, and a boatload of others in attendance to watch him play.

How many?

"I have no idea," Trout said. "There's a lot of people coming, though."

The estimation was nearly 1,000. Some camped out in the left-field bleachers and others sat behind the visiting dugout on the third-base side, where Trout had a mini cheering section as he took batting practice.

Trout is worth the drive, even if he doesn't know you.

He entered Tuesday leading the American League in batting average at .338, edging the White Sox' Paul Konerko by one point, and also leads the Junior Circuit in steals (21) while adding a .399 on-base percentage, seven homers and a .931 OPS. Since May 1, Trout leads the AL in batting average (.352), runs (43) and times on base (91). He's approaching some impressive club records.

The last Angels player to lead the AL in batting average this late in a season was Garret Anderson, who led up until Sept. 2 in 2003 (with a .322 batting average). And he's making a run at the most runs scored by an Angels player in his first 100 career games. He has 63 runs through 91 contests. Darin Erstad has the record with 68 through 100.

"To see somebody as young as Mike is, as far as experience-wise and age, come up and play at this level, has been awakening for our team," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club is a Major League-best 34-19 since Trout's April 28 callup. "It's been fun to watch, and hopefully it'll continue."

Trout's play has made him a likely member of the AL All-Star team, despite spending the first month in the Minor Leagues. It has also put Trout as the early favorite for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

As for the Most Valuable Player Award? Well, according to FanGraphs.com, Trout is tied for first with Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in the AL in Wins Above Replacement (3.7). If he wins it, he'd be the youngest player ever to take home the trophy. The current mark is held by Vida Blue, the former pitcher who won the MVP as a member of the Athletics in 1971 -- at 22 years and 64 days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Too early," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter cautioned. "If he continues this pace, then it's not too awesome. But we just don't know. Baseball is such a crazy game that you just don't know. He should be an All-Star. I know that."

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