BOSTON — Mark Trumbo is a 26-year-old dripping with talent and Incredible Hulk-like strength.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Angels left fielder entered yesterday against Boston batting .286 with 30 homers and 77 RBIs.
He has to be the young Angels superstar who everybody in baseball is talking about, who White Sox pitcher Chris Sale described as a “man-child,” and who just appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with “The Supernatural” in all capital letters written across his chest, right?
The actual man-child/supernatural talent has the locker right next to Trumbo’s in the visitor’s clubhouse here at Fenway.
His name: Mike Trout. His height/weight: 6-1, 210. His job: dominating baseball games. His age: turned 21 on Aug. 7.
“At Mike’s age I was playing in the Midwest League (Class-A), hitting .220 and contemplating what I was going to do with myself,” Trumbo said. “It’s unbelievable for someone to put up the type of numbers he’s putting up at any age let alone 20 and 21.”
Trout has a chance to become only the third player ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the same year. Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki have done it.
The center fielder also is on pace to become the second player (after Suzuki in 2001) to lead his league in batting average and steals in the same season since Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson did it in the National League in 1949.
Trout, who spent almost all of April in Triple-A, entered yesterday’s game leading the AL in batting average (.344), stolen bases (39), runs (97), slugging percentage (.606) and OPS (1.014). He ranked second in the AL in on-base percentage (.407). And he had 24 homers and 70 RBIs.
His talent combined with his hustle makes him arguably the most exciting player in the majors.
“I know it sounds strange, but seeing him hit routine ground balls and seeing how close the plays are at first, that pumps me up because he’ll beat some of them out,” Trumbo said. “Infielders are like, ‘What happened?’”
Neck-and-neck for the lead in the AL MVP race are Trout and Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who entered yesterday hitting .328 with 31 homers and 105 RBIs.
“He’s fun to watch,” Trout said about Cabrera. “I got to talk to him a little bit at the All-Star Game. ... He just puts up incredible numbers.”
But Trout is putting up better numbers in almost every category.
“I just feel more relaxed,” Trout said comparing this year to last season when he played 40 games for the Angels and hit .220. “I’m getting to play every day, leadoff — and just being in there every day makes me feel more comfortable.”
The argument, however, could be made that Cabrera is more deserving of the MVP because he is hitting better in clutch situations.
Entering yesterday, Cabrera was hitting .447 with a .523 on-base percentage with two outs and runners in scoring position and .354 with a .447 on-base percentage in late-and-close situations.
Meanwhile, Trout was hitting .297 with a .435 on-base percentage with two outs and runners in scoring position but just .205 with a .260 OBP in late-and-close situations.
Trout doesn’t pay much attention to the AL MVP discussion.
He is just out there having fun like he did when he played in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason on the same team with Red Sox injured third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Those two spent a lot of their free time playing Madden Football and Call of Duty.
Nationals 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper also was on that team.
“They both have a great swing,” Trout said about Middlebrooks and Harper. “They go out and compete every day and don’t take any day for granted and they’re out there having fun just like me.”
The Angels were 6-14 when Trout was in Triple-A during April. They were 55-45 in games that he has appeared in entering yesterday.
“I like making adjustments throughout the game,” Trout said. “A lot of these pitchers I haven’t seen. Just seeing pitches in that at-bat before and putting them in the back of my head (helps).”