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Angels GM doesn’t regret leaving Mike Trout in minors for 20 games

Oct 3, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

Mike Trout AP

I wondered yesterday whether not calling up Mike Trout until April 28 cost the Angels a playoff spot and while it’s obviously impossible to say for certain the numbers certainly suggest that it could have.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked general manager Jerry Dipoto that very question last night, and he downplayed any regret about the delayed call-up and also explained the Angels’ thought process with Trout:

I don’t know how much sooner we could’ve called him up. I mean, Mike had no spring training at all. Essentially, if you look at spring training, even the game portion of spring training is a month-long exercise. We didn’t even give him that long. He had enough time to go down and get his timing, hit .420-something and then pop up and be the best player around. I have not lost sleep thinking about that, about the idea that we didn’t call him up soon enough.

Dipoto is referring to the fact that Trout missed much of spring training with the flu and a minor shoulder injury, which is a factor I included in yesterday’s post. However, it’s worth noting that Trout was healthy enough to immediately hit .403 in 20 games against Triple-A pitching once the real games started.

Ultimately when a team misses the playoffs by 2-3 games there are a dozen things you can point to as “reasons” why and for the Angels this season Trout is merely one of them, but when arguably the best all-around player in baseball spent the first 20 games of the season in the minor leagues and the team that missed the playoffs by 2-3 games got off to a 6-14 start without him … well, it’s natural to wonder about that specific reason.

  1. lazlosother - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Meh. Hindsight and all that. The reasoning makes sense to me. Triple A is much different than MLB, while we’re wondering we may as well wonder if he would have started hot, or if with no spring training he would have struggled out of the gate.

    • cosanostra71 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      As an Angels fan its tough to say what my feelings are. Do I think he should have started the year on the roster? Yes. Do I think it would have been the difference between us at home and us in the playoffs? Most likely not. There were a lot of other factors too.

  2. elmaquino - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Obviously, he was left down there for the minimum 20 games so he wouldn’t become a free agent until 2018. That’s why he and Harper came up on like the same day.

    Thought everyone knew that?

    • Jeremy T - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      I thought the fact that he was already in the majors last year changed how that worked? I may be wrong, I can never seem to understand how those rules work.

      • elmaquino - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        It doesn’t.

    • paperlions - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      Those 20 games weren’t anywhere near long enough to avoid super 2 status…..and his time up in 2010 prior to September 1 also counts.

    • brianc6234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      That’s not the reason at all. The reason was the Angels had no room for Trout. They preferred to keep Wells and Abreu. That’s pretty sad though. If they thought Trout was as ready as he ended up being they wouldn’t have started him in Triple A.

  3. willclarkgameface - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Mike Scioscia laughs at this, saying that Dipoto doesn’t know dick.

    I think it’s absolutely lame that GM names are well known and frequent subjects of talking points. I just don’t believe that most of them really KNOW the game. Sure, they know how to pull off the waiver wire deal in August and get sandwich picks in the draft, but the GAME, that thing that’s played on the field…I just don’t trust them. I trust Scioscia. The guy knows the players and knows when they look good and when they need to be sent back on the first flight back to Toronto (talking ’bout you Vernon Wells).

    The Scioscia-Dipoto experiment isn’t going to end well and will end soon. The problem Senior Arte has is that he has Scioscia under contract until 2018. Who do you lose at that point? I say the GM.

    • js20011041 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      You do realize the DiPoto actually played THE GAME at the MLB level right? Having said that, I also think you’re argument about GM’s is ridiculous in it’s own right. Yes they have separate jobs and I don’t necessarily think that the GM should step on the manger’s toes too much, but to say that GMs don’t know the game is about as dumb a thing as I’ve heard in a while.

      • willclarkgameface - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        I’m aware. He was a slacker pitcher for 8 years. I trust Sciosica (the catcher) and his opinion of big league talent over Dipoto (pitcher and GM poser).

      • js20011041 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        So, do you have a problem with just DiPoto or all GMs? I’m not going to defend DiPoto because I simply don’t know enough about him or the Angels offer any kind of opinion, but I am curious why you trust Scioscia so much and not the GM. What has DiPoto done that makes you think that he isn’t a good GM?

      • cosanostra71 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Yes, Mike Sciosca is an excellent judge of talent. Like when he chose Jeff Mathis over Mike Napoli. Or Vernon Wells over Mike Trout.

      • cosanostra71 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        now that I think about it, maybe Sciosca just doesn’t like guys named Mike.

      • cosanostra71 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        *other guys named Mike

      • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        @willclarkgameface

        So you’re criticizing DiPoto because the Angels fell below expectations this year?

        Do you realize that it was because of moves made by DiPoto that the Angels had such high expectations?

    • brianc6234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Scioscia sucks. He’s the main reason the Angels are already starting their vacations. Dipoto just took over as GM last winter. It’s not easy to fix the problems he was handed. Scioscia was a big reason for those problems. He was the real GM for the Angels the last few years. Tony Reagins had the title but he pretty much had to do whatever Scioscia demanded.

  4. pdowdy83 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Before getting called up he wasn’t even if “the best players in baseball” conversation. He struggled in his debut last season and NOBODY expected him to be this good this fast. Yes he was a highly touted prospect but second guessing him starting in the minors after his struggles last season and his lack of spring training just seems like a perfect example of hindsight 20/20.

    If CJ Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana pitched to their capabilities we aren’t having this conversation.

  5. pauleee - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    420. The signs are everywhere.

  6. zacksdad - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    The real question should be does he regret trading for Vernon Wells? This is a bigger mistake than leaving Trout down and owing his rights longer.

    • packerpride03 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      He didn’t trade for veron tony rigging did

  7. yahmule - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Trout also batted .400 in his abbreviated spring training. Terrible decision and all the revisionism in the world won’t change it. Enjoy watching the playoffs on TV, Jerry.

    • js20011041 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      While I agree that he should have been brought up earlier, I disagree with putting the blame for the team missing the playoffs on this one decision. 162 games is a long season. There are many things that caused them to miss the playoffs. Yes, having Trout on the team early on would have helped, but also consider that Pujols shit the bed the first six weeks of the season. No guarantee that they would have won 3 or 4 more games even with Trout.

    • yahmule - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      I looked up his spring stats and he went 1-6, so he actually batted .167. Still, .167, .400, no sense in quibbling over 233 percentage points. He could still hit better than Bourjos five seconds after you roused him from a deep sleep.

      Seriously, though, the change in the offense was dramatic the second he was called up. Even if they wanted to let him get his legs in the minors, leaving him down as long as they did was ridiculous, unless, as mentioned, it was done for other reasons.

    • pauleee - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Except we have no idea how Trout would have done starting the season with the team. How do we know that a strong start in AAA was not the catalyst for the rest of the season? Plus he could have gotten some Pujols-funk on him in early April and gone the way of Bourjos, Wood and McPhearson.

    • brianc6234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      I don’t think Dipoto was the one who decided where Trout started the season. Sounds more like a Scioscia decision. If it was up to Scioscia Trout never would have been called up. A couple days before Trout was called up Scioscia told the media Trout wasn’t ready. Then he was called up and the rest is history. Scioscia just has no clue I guess.

  8. sisqsage - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    It’s a question worth considering, but that’s about it. You never know about a young player, especially a guy who is barely 20. A better bullpen would have made up those 2-3 games in a heartbeat. Amazing division. The A’s traded for a bunch of prospects and everyone has turned up like an all-star. Cespedes was a FA from Cuba who could be the best player in the AL with a little more seasoning.

    • brianc6234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      No way will Cespedes ever be the best player in the AL. Not unless Mike Trout switches to the NL.

  9. brianc6234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    This didn’t cost the Angels a spot in the playoffs. It sucks that Trout had to waste three weeks in the minors but the Angels had a lot of chances of getting to the playoffs. The real problem was all of the bad decisions Mike Sciosica made during some big games. One game in Kansas City Greinke pitched into the 9th and had one out and they led 2-0. Scioscia yanked him at less than 110 pitches and went to Frieri and the Angels lost. Greinke’s next start almost the same thing happened. This time the score was tied but Frieri blew that game too. That’s just two examples. Scioscia made a lot of bad decisions late in the season that blew games. So Trout missing three weeks wasn’t really a problem. It was just dumb to leave him in the minors when he was ready to play in the majors.

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