One of the biggest crimes in baseball is that Angels outfielder Mike Trout has only been to the postseason once since his MLB debut in 2011. And, it’s been nearly a decade since that lone occurrence happened.
Let’s face it — we’ve all imagined him on a different team, enabling him to play October baseball consistently. Putting the New Jersey native on the Yankees seems like a logical imaginary destination, right?
Well, it almost happened in real life, according to Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ director of scouting. He appeared on a recent episode of “The Show“, a New York Post podcast hosted by Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman.
Trout was selected by Los Angeles with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. The Yankees thought the high school outfielder would fall to them at 29th overall, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Here’s part of Oppenheimer’s story (transcription via NJ.com):
That one was gut-wrenching. We really thought there were a lot of teams that weren’t on Mike Trout. It was South Jersey. He was hard to see. So we thought, Hey, we’ve really got a shot.’ And we really loved him.
We got fortunate because every time we’d go see him, he was really good. When you go see a guy and he hits missiles all over the park and he runs four-flat down the line and he plays a pretty good center field, it’s pretty helpful when you’re doing your evaluation.
We thought we had a really good shot because there aren’t many people who are really into … the area he’s from and all that.
In addition to having the 25th overall pick, the Angels also had the 24th overall pick. They used it on another high school outfielder in Randall Grichuk. That’s why it was so tough to see Trout come off the board, in Oppenheimer’s eyes:
And I’m thinking, ‘He’s not going to take another player like that, a high school player. And then he takes [Trout] and you have to regroup and your heart sinks. And you think, ‘We really had a shot at an impactful guy.’
That changes history, doesn’t it?
Uh, yea — that would’ve changed history just a smidge. If Trout is on the Yankees, my guess is they wouldn’t be currently in the midst of a World Series drought. And maybe they wouldn’t have been eliminated by the Houston Astros so many times since 2015.
Just the mere thought of having Trout and Judge in the same outfield is absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately for Yankee fans, all it will likely ever be is a fleeting thought. But man, it was really close to being real.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.