Top prospect Mike Trout maintained his .500 average for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, going 2-for-4 and hitting his first homer. He’s 10-for-20 in five games for the Bees.
There will certainly be call in Anaheim for Trout to replace Vernon Wells in the Angels outfield if this keeps up. Wells is off to a 2-for-14 start (though one of those hits was a homer), and he was left out of Monday’s lineup in favor of Bobby Abreu. It’s doubtful the Angels will do anything for a few weeks yet, but at some point, they’ll have to address the likelihood that Trout is a better player than Wells, regardless of what the contracts say.
Trout is regarded by most as one of the two best position prospects in the minors, with Bryce Harper claiming the other spot. The 20-year-old hit .220/.281/.390 with five homers in 123 at-bats with the Angels last year.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.