Because simply being the best player in the league as a 20-year-old wasn’t nearly enough for Mike Trout, the Angels outfielder celebrated his 21st birthday last night by homering against the A’s.
ESPN’s stats department found that Trout joins Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, and Jason Heyward as the only players to homer on their 21st birthday since 1939.
Which goes nicely with Trout joining Williams, Rodriguez, and Mel Ott as the only 20-year-olds with an OPS above 1.000.
Trout has played 88 games since being called up by the Angels in late April and prorating his numbers for a full, 162-game season looks like this: .348 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage, 1.009 OPS, 37 homers, 38 doubles, 10 triples, 68 walks, 66 steals, 110 RBIs, 161 runs.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.