Mike Trout is hitting .419 with a 1.132 OPS at Triple-A

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One player certainly isn’t going to solve all of the Angels’ problems in the midst of a 6-12 start, particularly with veterans calling out manager Mike Scioscia in the media, but it’s tough to ignore the fact that stud prospect Mike Trout is hitting .419 at Triple-A.

As a 20-year-old, no less.

Trout is 31-for-74 (.419) with 10 extra-base hits, 11 walks, and six steals in 19 games, which is good for a .483 on-base percentage, .649 slugging percentage, and 1.132 OPS.

Now, certainly 19 games doesn’t mean Trout is ready to annihilate big-league pitching and the Angels’ logjam of first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters hasn’t gone away, but most of that logjam isn’t actually, you know, hitting and there’s little reason to think guys like Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells are going to suddenly turn everything around.

So when will the Angels call up Trout? Based on what Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, don’t hold your breath:

I don’t believe anything is imminent, but when you play at the level Mike is playing at now, you become more of a focal point of fans, the media and the organization. When a move is made depends on a lot of things. When you’re playing that well, you tend to push the door open for yourself, but right now he will continue to play [at Salt Lake] until something changes.

Sending a 20-year-old prospect to Triple-A to begin the season when he’d never played there before made plenty of sense, particularly considering the Angels’ veteran depth, but at some point you’d think Scioscia will grow tired of watching the old guys make outs. Or at least that’s what the Pacific Coast League pitchers are hoping.

Max Muncy and Matt Beaty step on Rhys Hoskins’ ankle on consecutive plays

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In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last year, infielder Manny Machado — then with the Dodgers — stepped on the foot of Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Aguilar, understandably, wasn’t happy about that and both teams’ benches spilled onto the field. It was a continuation of a tumultuous series for Machado, who was also vilified for not hustling and sliding hard into Orlando Arcia twice. The Machado-Aguilar dust-up served as a referendum on Machado’s character until he finally signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

Recently, Machado criticized the analysts on MLB Network for holding double standards. Dan Plesac and Eric Byrnes argued with Greg Amsinger about the Jake Marisnick collision at home plate with catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Amsinger felt Marisnick was in the wrong; Plesac and Byrnes defended Marisnick. On Instagram, Machado said if he had been the one who bulldozed Lucroy, Plesac and Byrnes wouldn’t have defended him, in part because he is Latino. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones said earlier this year that Machado would “one hundred percent” be treated differently if he were white.

With that context in mind, something interesting happened in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies. Leading off the top of the fourth inning against Aaron Nola, Max Muncy grounded out to shortstop Jean Segura. As Muncy crossed the first base bag, he stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle. On the next play, Matt Beaty beat out an infield single hit to third baseman Maikel Franco, shifted up the middle. As Beaty crossed the first base bag ahead of the throw, he tripped over Hoskins’ ankle. MLB.com hasn’t posted video of the incidents yet, but here’s a look at both plays from @jomboy_ on Twitter:

We rarely see runners tripping over the feet of first basemen, but here we have it happening on back-to-back plays. Hoskins’ footwork around the bag was textbook given the situations. The commentators on the exclusive YouTube broadcast gave the runners the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, there has surprisingly been little discussion of these plays. A July 18 game isn’t exactly Game 4 of the NLCS, but look at how much conversation the Marisnick-Lucroy play generated and that was less than two weeks ago. These plays deserve a “Was it dirty?” conversation.

One wonders what the conversation would have looked like if it had been black or Latino runners stepping on Hoskins’ ankle on back-to-back plays. Would they have gotten the immediate benefit of the doubt like Muncy and Beaty? Would malicious intent have been ascribed to them instead? That, really, is Machado’s point about the double-standard applied to non-white players. It doesn’t excuse any of his obviously terrible behavior, but if we’re going to criticize players for bad behavior, we should do so evenly and fairly. Muncy and Beaty deserve criticism for their poor, sloppy, dangerous base running. Frankly, Major League Baseball should consider fines and/or suspensions. Machado was fined for stepping on Aguilar.