Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

Shocker: The Angels call up Mike Trout

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Mike Trout doesn’t turn 20 for another month.* But as of today, he’s a major leaguer.

We certainly weren’t expecting that so soon. But with Peter Bourjos suffering from a hamstring injury and the surging Angels merely a game back of the Rangers in a surprisingly competitive AL West, the front office in Anaheim apparently figured it had nothing to lose. Trout got the callup from Double-A late last night and will be available for Friday’s game against the Mariners.

Depending on who you listen to, Trout is either the top prospect or maybe the second best prospect in all of baseball. I don’t do the prospect rankings thing, but it’s hard for me to see him as anything but the best right now. He was hitting .330/.422/.544 in a league full of guys older than him, having smacked nine homers and stolen 28 bases in 36 attempts. He has power, patience, speed and can play defense. There’s nothing not to like.

He has played center almost exclusively in the minors and has some serious range, so I would assume he’ll simply take Bourjos’ place in center for Anaheim too. Although I suppose there’s a chance that Mike Scioscia decides to put Torii Hunter back in center and let Trout play in the corner because sometimes managers do that with youngsters. Back in 1996 Andruw Jones could probably cover all three outfield positions by himself but Bobby Cox put him in right field because, well, I don’t know why.

That’s a minor detail, however. The big deal here is that Angels fans get to see the future. Now.

*We’ve officially entered the era in which every new callup makes me feel like an old fart. I had already graduated high school when Mike Trout was born. Maybe more jarring: Mike Trout was born one month and seventeen days before Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was released. Or, if you prefer, a month and ten days before GnR’s “Use Your Illusion” albums were released. Although the former example makes me feel older.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on July 22, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Wednesday gives us six afternoon games, leaving nine games for the evening. Masahiro Tanaka will start one of those games as the Yankees take on the Astros’ Lance McCullers in an 8:10 PM EDT start.

The Yankees went into the All-Star break an even 44-44, 7.5 games out of first place and looking like sellers. They have come into the second half winning 8 of 12 games, including their last three. The club has only managed to make up one game against the first-place Orioles in the AL East, but they are also only four games out of the second AL Wild Card slot.

Aroldis Chapman has already been shipped out, but the Yankees are also drawing trade interest in Andrew Miller, who has assumed the closer’s role. If the Yankees win tonight and perform well against the Rays in a three-game series in Tampa, the Bronx Bombers may enter the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline deciding to be competitive after all.

The rest of Wednesday evening’s action…

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 7:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole), 7:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ New York Mets (Logan Verrett), 7:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish), 8:05 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.