The Los Angeles Angels have assigned players to its Double-A stepchild, and as predicted, center fielder Mike Trout -- ranked by many as the best player in Minor League Baseball and called by one scout the next Mickey Mantle -- will start the season as a member of the Arkansas Travelers.
So as the Trout era begins, the question is, how long will it last?
Some say this 19-year-old will make the Angels roster this year. Is he on the fast track to Salt Lake City, or will he spend most of the season developing at Dickey-Stephens Park? That's the key question for Travs fans in the 2011 season.
In addition to Trout, looks like the Angels are providing the Travs with a handful of top pitching prospects and a decent third baseman, but beyond that, it's time to find out!
Some select excerpts from the Travs' press release:
The spotlight is unquestionably shining on Trout as MLB.com, MLB Network and ESPN.com all named the 19-year old from Millville, New Jersey native the Top Prospect in Baseball but he is certainly not the only prospect on the roster. The Travs feature three of the Angels top pitching prospects in their starting rotation including right-handers Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas, and 2009 Texas League All-Star left-hander Trevor Reckling.Trout is joined in the outfield by Angel Castillo, who's 21 home runs were fourth amongst Angels minor league players. Clay Fuller, who tore up the California League after a mid-season demotion in 2010, returns to the Travelers' outfield while six-year free agent Marvin Lowrance joins the Travs after spending the previous seven seasons in the Washington Nationals organization.The Travelers infield features a host of familiar names including first baseman Jay Brossman, who's 2010 season was cut short due to a back injury after opening the year as the Travs starting third baseman. After initially struggling at Double-A, returning utility infielder Roberto Lopez was the Travs hottest hitting in the last month of the 2010 season. Luis Jimenez, rated 22nd amongst Angels prospects by Baseball America, takes over at third base. Shortstop Darwin Perez is one of the most highly touted fielders in the Angels organization and is joined by second baseman Ryan Mount who attempts to come back from an injury-filled 2010.Richards (7th), Reckling (11th) and Arenas (20th) are all ranked by Baseball America amongst the Angels top prospects. Richards led all Angels farm hands with 149 strikeouts between the Angels' Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga affiliates last year. His 3.52 ERA was second-lowest while Orenas was third in the organization at 3.64. Reckling finished 2010 in the Travs rotation after suffering through a rough few months at Triple-A last year. Right hander Kyle Hurst also joins the starting rotation while the final spot will be filled by a piggyback combo of right hander Eddie McKiernan and lefty Andrew Taylor. McKiernan was the top closer in the Angels organization with 28 saves, while Taylor ranks 28th amongst Angels prospects according to Baseball America.