Coming into the 2012 season, Mike Trout was just another prospect that the casual baseball fan would never have been able to identify. When all is said and done this year, he may be the league’s youngest ever MVP, thanks to one of the most ridiculous rookie campaigns in the history of the game.
Every prospector has their victories, and I am not talking about buying Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg and selling during the craze. Im talking about finding that diamond in the rough and cashing in when they hit it big. Mike Trout was in the bottom of people’s common box to start the year, and he might be the most valuable player not named Pujols in the whole hobby right now. That rarely happens with a guy drafted at the bottom of the first round.
As of now, he is beginning to enter some elite territory with ending prices like these:
Obviously, buying in now would be a bad idea, as he has not had the opportunity to showcase a sustained track record of superstar performance, and he is being chased by so many people. Additionally, the prospecting phase passed months ago, and any purchase would now be in at the Penthouse, not the ground floor. Trout looks like he is the real deal, but one season does not a career make. Similarly, one MVP does not a career make, even if it comes during the first year in the bigs. Someone told me a few weeks ago that the 2009 Superfractor was sold prior to the season for a small amount of money, I can only imagine what it would bring now if it came to auction again.
Trout is no doubt responsible for a lot of the success that the Angels are having so far this year, something that was not in the crystal ball when LA signed Albert Pujols during the offseason. However, like with any young star, the fan base has become rabid for picking up his autographs and rookie cards. Cards that are now worth hundreds could have been had for pennies on the dollar, at least until his onslaught of success this year.
With a lineup like the Angels currently have, there is enormous potential for a long term solution in the middle of their lineup. Pujols and Trout could anchor the batting order for years to come, and that is not even considering how good Trout has been in the field for them. Most hobby value is derived from power numbers and team affiliation, but Trout could deliver outside of the normal constraints.
It then becomes a question of whether or not he is 400 dollars valuable, or 100 dollars valuable.