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Jim Worth Headshot

The Ascent of An Angel

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As the 2012 baseball season winds down the talk of MVP heats up and the Angel fans have high hopes for their rising star.

Gabriel's horn is blaring for the exciting rookie from New Jersey who has energized fans everywhere.

Who exactly is this exciting newcomer?

It's a kid named Mike Trout and in stadium after stadium signs are appearing touting his ascendency to one of the most coveted awards in baseball, and for good reason.

Trout has easily wrapped up the Rookie of the Year award with his dynamic play and infectious attitude in pursuit of rookie record after record.

But the rookie phenom's numbers have elevated him to baseball's stratosphere and into the race for the American League's Most Valuable Player as well.

It appears that, Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit slugger will win the Triple Crown in the American League, the first triple winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967 -- 45 years ago. Since 1900 only 13 players have accomplished that feat and Cabrera could be the 14th.

Though Cabrera's numbers are good and worthy of the MVP award they're not grounds for automatically awarding him the crown.

Trout's numbers are equally impressive and have been amassed without the benefit of a whole season. He was brought back up to the bigs at the end of April and proceeded to win rookie of the month for the next four consecutive months, a statistic that has never been achieved in Major League Baseball.

And his other numbers? He leads both leagues in runs scored (122) and stolen bases (46). He's 2nd in the AL behind Cabrera in batting average and led it most of the year, has 28 home runs in the leadoff position, and is 4th in the American League in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage.

But Trout's value goes well beyond the tangible and meticulously kept statistics when you consider invisible team assets. As the Angels' Center Fielder he covers a huge swath of the verdure outfield at Angel Stadium and the high-flying rookie has stolen, snatched, indeed robbed four of his colleagues of home runs this year, scaling the center field barrier in the deepest parts of the parks to do so. When on base he puts tremendous pressure on pitcher's helping Torii Hunter raise his average to a very respectable .306, and has given both Hunter and Albert Pujols incredible RBI opportunities. And Torii's gratitude is visible in his perpetual smile at the ballpark every day. It appears Torii may be having even more fun than Trout this season.

And amazingly, after the teams' terrible start, Trout, along with Mark Trumbo created the spark the Angels' needed to get them out of the cellar. Yes, TNT was dynamite in May and June!

It's obvious that Mike Trout has been a valuable asset to the Angels during their run for the playoffs, as has Cabrera. It would be difficult to award MVP to someone other than the Triple Crown winner, but given Trout's success and the way he ignited the team there is still one scenario in which he may be chosen over Cabrera.

We don't know whether the Angels will make the playoffs as one of the wild card teams, but, if Trout's contribution during the last nine games assures the Angels of making the playoffs and Cabrera's contribution is sufficient but Detroit doesn't make it then the nod could go to Major League Baseball's incredible 2012 rookie.

But, whether he wins or loses the award, Trout has been MVP for thousands of Angels fans all season long. He's thrilled kids, excited adults, elevated conversations around water coolers, and ignited the discussion centered around the coveted award.

Win or lose, Mike, the pleasure has been ours, Angel and baseball fans all across the nation!

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