When the season began, if you tried to guess which Los Angeles Angels hitter would be all the talk as the Texas Rangers prepared for a July showdown series, you would have assumed it would be Albert Pujols.
But as Rangers manager Ron Washington entertained questions in advance of this weekend’s series in Anaheim, there was not a mention of Pujols. It was all about a couple of young players: Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
Washington managed both of them at the All-Star Game, and he came away plenty impressed.
“They are two very professional guys,” Washington said before Wednesday’s game in Oakland. “They are very confident and dangerous. They are always smiling. They love the game. They got all the attributes to be stars and that’s what they are right now.”
Trout, who doesn’t turn 21 until Aug. 7, is leading the league in hitting with a .355 average. Washington said his two plate appearances in the All-Star Game left an impression.
“They brought in (Aroldis) Chapman and he was throwing 100-101 and (Trout) was laying off that stuff,” Washington said. “When he threw it in the zone, he got his bat head in there.”
Trumbo hit 29 homers last year, but he had a .254 average and a .291 on-base percentage. This year he’s already hit 26 homers and he’s lifted his average to .311 and his on-base percentage to .361.
“I don’t know whoever said he was just a home run hitter last year,” Washington said. “When we faced him, he beat us many ways. He hit balls between first and second, down the line. This guy stays on the ball. He has a short stoke. That’s why he generates all that power.”