Hunter touts Trout as Gold Glove candidate

Hunter touts Trout as Gold Glove candidate

Hunter touts Trout as Gold Glove candidate
ANAHEIM -- At 21 and in his first full season, Mike Trout is basically a lock to be named the American League's Rookie of the Year, and in the eyes of many, he's the favorite to be the youngest Most Valuable Player ever.

Can he also win a Gold Glove?

"Yes," said Torii Hunter, who knows a lot about being a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder but, of course, is quite biased in this case. "Of course, he's only 21, he's still got to learn some things. But the plays he's made this year, from last year to this year, the strides he's made, the changes he's made in the outfield, he's been working on it. As far as Gold Glove, if he gets one, it's going to be deserved."

Fred Lynn (1975 Red Sox) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001 Mariners) are the only players in history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, and both of them also won Gold Gloves that year.

The fact that the Gold Glove Award is now specific to each outfield spot may hurt Trout, especially in a league with the Tigers' Austin Jackson, considered by many as the best defensive center fielder among everyday players.

But Trout came into Thursday with the highest Ultimate Zone Rating (9.1) among center fielders that have spent at least 600 innings at the position. The second-place guy, the Twins' Denard Span, has a score of 6.1.

Trout also possesses that awe factor. It comes in the form of the four home runs he's taken away (Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy on June 27, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham on Aug. 4, Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo on Aug. 11 and Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder on Saturday). And it comes, as is often the case with the Gold Glove, in the form of Trout's superb offensive numbers (.331 batting average, 45 steals, 114 runs and 27 homers).

"Everything's in his favor, I'm telling you," Hunter said. "If we [make the playoffs], I think he racks up all of that. All that individual stuff. But if I know Trout, when I talk to him, it's, 'Let's not worry about that until the time comes.' He's really worried about winning. He wants to win, that's all he wants to do. To get a 21-year-old who's not worried about that individual stuff, that's pretty impressive."

But Hunter is not of the belief that a player on a non-playoff team should win the MVP.

"For me, personally, you can have an outstanding player, but for me, you have to help the team win," Hunter said. "MVP wouldn't be for a losing team."