Struggling Angels OF needs Mike Trout 

April, 25, 2012
It can be argued that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the best prospect in the minor leagues. Entering Wednesday, the 20-year-old is hitting .419 at Triple-A Salt Lake, with one home run, 13 RBIs and 21 runs scored in 19 games, as well as six stolen bases in seven chances. He takes walks and also projects as an elite defensive outfielder. Trout is owned in 3.4 percent of ESPN standard fantasy leagues, and the minute the Angels' brass calls his name or announces its intent to, his name will show prominently on ESPN's most-added list.

For now, Angels fans get to watch Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter, and occasionally the ghost that is Bobby Abreu and impatient first baseman/third baseman Mark Trumbo, handle things in the outfield. Perhaps using the words "handle things" might be a bit unfair. Counting Tuesday's shutout loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Wells leads the team in home runs with three -- all other Angels have hit a combined eight -- but it's difficult to get past his one walk versus 10 strikeouts. Hunter is taking walks (team-leading seven) and is hitting .279, but hasn't homered. Still, I feel like Wells and Hunter were going to be rather limited fantasy options anyway this year; Wells would raise his batting average from last season's .218 and provide power. Hunter still had enough left in the tank to reach 20 home runs and hit .270.

[+] EnlargePeter Bourjos
Victor Decolongon/Getty ImagesGood defense or not, Peter Bourjos had better pick it up offensively with Mike Trout tearing up Triple-A pitching.
But those clamoring for future fantasy monster Trout to replace Wells or Hunter should turn some of their attention to center fielder Bourjos. While Hunter was a 15th-round pick in ESPN average live drafts and Wells a 23rd-rounder, Bourjos certainly has the most upside. Last season he hit .271, reached double digits in home runs and triples, stole 22 bases and was arguably the top defensive center fielder in the AL. I had Bourjos ranked better than Wells and Hunter for fantasy this season, but I'm certainly questioning that notion now. Sure, it's early, but when the top prospect in the game is needlessly percolating in Utah and Bourjos is hitting .186 after 43 at-bats, that tends to get notice.