Mike Trout appears to be in the majors to stay, but today Baseball America named the 20-year-old Angels outfielder their minor league player of the year.
Trout ranked second to Bryce Harper’s on Baseball America‘s preseason prospect ranking and had a spectacular year at Double-A, batting .326 with 11 homers, 42 total extra-base hits, 45 walks, and 33 steals in 91 games despite being a teenager for nearly the entire season. He was the youngest player in the entire Texas League.
Jeremy Hellickson was BA‘s minor league player of the year in 2010 and is now a leading Rookie of the Year candidate for the Rays, throwing 164 innings with a 2.90 ERA that ranks fifth in the AL. Trout figures to exhaust his Rookie of the Year eligibility while playing regularly for the Angels down the stretch, but in terms of long-term upside there are few players in all of baseball who can compete with the 2009 first-round pick.
For a whole lot more on Trout, check out J.J. Cooper’s excellent article.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.