Outfield of the future is now

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
6:21
PM PT
We all knew there was a good chance the Angels would one day have an outfield of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo. We just didn't expect that day to be May 21, 2012.

This team's outfield has gone from having a glut of available players to being devoid of healthy, present bodies. Vernon Wells is out 8-10 weeks after thumb surgery. Torii Hunter remains on the restricted list while he deals with sexual-assault charges against his son, Darius, back in Texas. Bobby Abreu is batting .341 for the Dodgers.

And, at least for the moment, the rapid attrition seems to be roughly Reason No. 94 to worry about this team. It's miles behind Albert Pujols' slump, furlongs back of the bullpen's struggles and probably even stuck behind the Chris Iannetta injury and the lack of catching depth.

In fact, is it wrong to suggest this could actually help this team win some more games in the next few weeks? Bourjos is the best defensive outfielder in the organization, Trumbo's bat the most dangerous on the team for now and Trout perhaps a burgeoning superstar. Angels fans have been clamoring for this look since spring training and it's hard to fault them. If anything, it's the veterans who have held the Angels back, not the young players.

In 640 at-bats as an Angel, Wells is batting .223 with a .255 on-base percentage and 78 RBIs. Trout figures to be just as steady in the outfield and his performance the past three weeks suggest he's a massive upgrade offensively. Before Hunter left, he was doing his usual thing, producing steadily at the plate, playing Gold Glove-caliber outfield and holding the clubhouse together. But Trumbo has far more power, an equally strong arm and -- you have to say it -- won't have as much off-field stuff to worry about.

The center-field situation isn't quite as easy to shrug off, because Bourjos (.203) hasn't produced much with his bat. But over the same sample-size as Wells', all of Bourjos' offensive numbers are better, aside from power, and he can make nearly as much impact on the defensive side as Erick Aybar, another struggling hitter, can make from the shortstop position.

Time will tell how long this trio stays together -- and manager Mike Scioscia told reporters in San Diego he expects Hunter back by the end of the weekend -- but for now, it may be the most interesting thing this team has going for it. And, besides, who doesn't like a glimpse into the future?

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Howie Kendrick
BA HR RBI R
.293 7 75 85
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
WJ. Weaver 18
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169