Mike Trout is a Major League Baseball superstar. 

The nine-time All-Star and three-time Most Valuable Player signed the third-largest contract in sports history in 2019, but he wasn't always the household name he is today. 

Once, he was just a kid dreaming of playing in the big leagues.

The Early Years

Trout was born on August 7, 1991, in New Jersey. His dad, Jeff, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1983, who played college ball at the University of Delaware. 

Mike grew up cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies. He started his baseball journey by playing short in a youth baseball league. 

In those days, he could only dream of one day winning the admiration of millions of fans and sponsorship deals with companies, such as Easton baseball.

High School & College

Trout played basketball and baseball at Millville Senior High School. He pitched and played shortstop during high school, tossing a no-hitter in his third year, before becoming an outfielder in his final year. 

Trout set a state high school home run record, with 18 dingers in his final year. In addition to his high school play, Trout played travel ball with Tri-State Arsenal, a top travel program in the Northeastern United States. 

He committed to play baseball at East Carolina University ahead of the draft in 2009 but never attended.

MLB Draft & Minor League Career

The Angels used their compensatory pick to select Mike Trout as the 25th overall selection in the 2009 MLB draft. Trout elected not to go to college and instead joined the Arizona Angels minor league team straight out of high school. 

He hit .360, slugged .506, drove in 25 runs, and had 13 steals over 187 plate appearances in his first professional season. He also picked up 20 plate appearances for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels.

At the start of 2010, Trout was ranked as the Angels' third-best prospect and Baseball America's 85th-best prospect in baseball. 

After hitting .362 with a .526 slugging percentage, six home runs, 45 steals, and 39 RBIs in 82 games for the Kernels, Trout was chosen for the All-Star Futures Game and by July he had shot up the rankings to the second-best prospect in baseball. 

He was moved up to the Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes after the Futures Game. In 2010, two months past his 19th birthday, he was the youngest recipient of the Topps Minor League Player of the Year award. 

He started the 2011 minor league season with the Class AA Arkansas Travelers, where he hit .324 with nine homers, swiped 28 bags, and drove in 27 runs over 75 games. 

Professional Career

Trout got his first taste of the big leagues on July 8, 2011, when he was called up to fill Peter Bourjos' spot in center. 

However, after hitting .163 with six RBIs and one homer in 12 starts with the Angels, he was sent back down to the AA club. He would make his return to the big league team on August 19, 2011, in style with his first home run at Angel Stadium. 

Just 11 days later, he became the youngest Angel's player to have a two-home run game. He finished his rookie campaign with a modest .220 batting average.

Though Trout started the 2012 campaign with the AAA Salt Lake Bees, he would finally establish himself as a star by setting a slew of rookie records on his way to the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. That was just the first of many accolades he would win throughout his career.

Trout has yet to collect a World Series ring, but his trophy case contains just about every other award a Major League Baseball player can attain. 

He has played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Angels and is expected to be with the team for his age 30 season in 2022 (if it happens with the looming MLB lockout). 

Mike Trout has some legitimate competition for the best player in the game (such as his own teammate), but he is undoubtedly still among the game's biggest stars.


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