With leadoff homer, Trout reaches milestone

With leadoff homer, Trout reaches milestone

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout spent the first month of the season in the Minors and has yet to begin playing the final one, but he's already in unprecedented territory.

In the bottom of the first -- eight innings before he hit a game-tying RBI single -- Trout hit a long leadoff homer off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. That made Trout -- at 21 years, 21 days old -- the first rookie and youngest player to amass 25 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season.

The record previously belonged to Cesar Cedeno, who at age 22 hit 25 homers and swiped 56 bases with the Astros in 1973.

"It's awesome, it's great," Trout said after going 3-for-5 in the Angels' 6-5 walk-off victory. "I really don't look at the individual stuff right now -- not until the season's over. First goal right now is to get to the playoffs."

And without Trout, the Angels probably wouldn't even have a chance.

Trout is basically a lock to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and he looks like the front-runner to be named the AL's Most Valuable Player. Trout wasn't called up from Triple-A Salt Lake until April 28, but he leads the AL in batting average (.340), OPS (.995), steals (41), runs (101) and Wins Above Replacement (8.8).

Trout was already the youngest player to steal 40 bases in a season since Ty Cobb swiped 53 in 1907, and the youngest player to combine it with at least 20 homers. No player -- any age, any tenure -- has combined a .340 batting average with 20 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season.

With a solid September, Trout could change that.

"It's an honor to play with Trout," shortstop Erick Aybar, who scored on Trout's one-out single in the ninth, said in Spanish. "He's so young, and he does everything now. He hits it out, hits doubles, hits triples, steals bases. When Trout's hitting, you always think a hit is coming."

Trout's leadoff homer to left-center field was estimated at 445 feet by ESPN's Hit Tracker, making it the longest of his career. In the fifth, he robbed Pedro Ciriaco of a single with a sprawling catch in shallow center field. In the seventh, Trout reached second base on a bloop single to right field, causing an error by Cody Ross. And in the ninth, behind in the count 0-2, Trout got just enough barrel on an inside fastball by Alfredo Aceves, hitting a broken-bat single up the middle to bring his team back.

Afterwards, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine simply called Trout "one of the best players I've seen in a long time."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.