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Angels phenom Mike Trout can’t be the 2012 Rookie of the Year

Nov 15, 2011, 6:35 PM EDT

Mike Trout Getty Images

Because MLB’s math works a little differently.

To qualify as a rookie for MLB purposes, a player cannot have more than 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or 45 non-September days of service time on the active roster total in previous seasons.

Mike Trout would seem to have none of those things. He finished 2011 with 123 at-bats and 38 non-September days on the Angels’ active roster.

Trout’s rookie status, however, will be a casualty of one of MLB’s most obscure transaction rules. Trout’s midsummer demotion last year lasted 17 days, which is short of the 20 days MLB requires for the demotion not to count against service time.

So while Trout only spent those 38 days on the active roster, he’ll be credited with an extra 17 days of service time, which, for these purposes, is counted as being the same thing.

Hopefully, MLB will look at its rookie rules one of these years and clarify them. This technicality shouldn’t be held against Trout. The league could also tweak it so that the position player cutoff is based on plate appearances, rather than at-bats, and so that a reliever called up right after the All-Star break who pitches 30-40 innings doesn’t qualify as a rookie the next year.

But there’s also a bigger concern for the Angels here. Instead of having 66 days of service time (the original 38 plus the 28 days in September), Trout now has 83 days. That’s not going to be an issue for arbitration and free agency if Trout opens 2012 in the majors and goes on to establish himself as a star, but it could if the team follows through with its plan to have Trout begin the season in the minors.

Hat tip to the Orange County Register’s Sam Miller, who has the official word from MLB over on his blog.

  1. lyon810 - Nov 15, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    As an Angels fan I say, “who cares?” It’s just an award and only embodies one season and does little to predict future success. With the exception of the last few years, look at some of the bums who have won it since 2000: Sasaki, Hinske, Berroa, and Crosby.

    I’m sure the Angels and Trout won’t be losing any sleep over this.

    • anotheryx - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM

      I’m sure that the expected career of those who won RoY is slightly better than those who did not, so there is value in that. I’m also sure that Trout would love to won it since his agent would definitely bring it up during arbitration time.

      • lyon810 - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        Again, the award means nothing of concrete value. If Trout is good enough in the long-run, he’ll get his payday. ROY balloting will not be difference between this guy landing or not landing a lucrative deal with the Angels if he turns out to be the player we all think he will be.

      • Bryz - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        No, but it could be the difference of a few million dollars, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from Jimmy Fallon (other than that he annoys me), it’s that everyone loves more money. Well, except for a baby.

      • lyon810 - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:28 PM

        How dare you lump Trout and Fallon together, even if only to paint a broader picture!

      • dan1111 - Nov 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        I agree that a ROY award probably leads to more money. It gives recognition and a reputation, which do matter when it comes time to sign a contract.

        Also, it doesn’t really matter whether people think it is significant or not. If an award exists, it should be fair.

  2. legacybroken - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Vernon Well’s sure loves his money.

    • lyon810 - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      I am not familiar with Vernon Well. Did the Angels just acquire him in a trade for Jeffrey Mathis?

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM

      Vernon Wells is a fine generous person and a solid citizen.

      • cur68 - Nov 15, 2011 at 11:13 PM

        PC, you are only putting that out there to rile me. You know perfectly well the man is pure evil. A bubbling cauldron of hate and spite. I know, he hides it by being easy going, good natured and a great teammate by all reports. He even gets out in various communities and does some philanthropic work. But, at the end of the day, when he’s done going too and fro on the face of the Earth, he relaxes in a hot tub of brimstone and sands down his hooves and incipient billy-goat horns with a rasp.

        Do not be fooled. One day he will come for you. Then you’d wish you’d heeded my warnings of the man. Did I write “Man”? Nay. He is a DEVIL! A devil disguised as an Angel cast from Beaver Land by saint Anthopolous and given refuge in a modern day Gomorrah!

        *wipes spittle from chin and scribbles furiously in manifesto*

  3. legacybroken - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Maybe its just society lyons810

  4. unclearnie - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    More East coast bias

  5. paperlions - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Edinson Volquez laughs at the suggestion that rookie status disqualifies you from receiving votes.

  6. cowboysoldiertx - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Its a worthless award that means nothing.

  7. dchaban - Nov 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    I’m sure it would matter to Trout if he had a clause in his contract that gave him a bonus if he won it, but other than pride, it doesn’t matter to the fans if he does turn out to be the top notch player he is projected to be. Of course, that might take awhile as most players brought up take some time to catch on to major league pitching. I’m sure the Angels would make some kind of generous offer if he did well his first year just to keep their relations on a cordial level so that he can be wrapped up for a long term contract in the future.

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