In many years, the sweet spot for prospect callups is the first week of June. For 2012, it's all about April 28.
The Nationals made the call for Bryce Harper during east coast drive time Friday evening, and the Angels have since upped the ante. Los Angeles released spare part Bobby Abreu on Friday, and with the corresponding move they'll add Mike Trout from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Although Harper is slightly ahead of Trout on most long-term prospect lists (Baseball America has them first and third, respectively), Trout is the more appealing fantasy play for immediate dividends. Trouts, at 20, is 14 months older than Harper, and he's played four years of pro ball to Harper's two. Trout also has 30 games of big league experience already under his belt, logging 123 at-bats last year (five homers, four steals, .220/.281/.390).
Trout's been crushing it in the minors this year, posting a .403/.467/.623 line over 20 games. He's only got one homer (along with four doubles and five triples), but he's also posted 21 runs and six steals. Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia says Trout "will play," whatever that turns out to mean.
It's a desperate time for the win-now Angels; they dropped a 3-2 decision at Cleveland on Friday and are now 6-14 on the year. The offense has just 74 runs. Texas holds a 9.5-game lead on the Halos as this blog goes to post, though the Rangers are trailing in their game against Tampa Bay. Surely the Angels saw the writing on the wall and felt moves had to be made; earlier in the day, closer Jordan Walden was temporary stripped of his ninth-inning duties (lefty Scott Downs will close in the meantime).
I can't tell you where Scioscia will slot Trout in the order, or how long the experiment will go on. It seems logical that Trout will mostly take over for center fielder Peter Bourjos, but nothing is definite until they line up on the field. One thing we can say for certain: Trout's 22-percent ownership at the Y! is about to go through the roof. Everyone seems to feel Trout is destined to be a star someday, it's just a matter of when the time arrives.