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Mike Trout On Pace For American League MVP Award

Mike Trout has taken the baseball world by storm as a 20-year-old phenom, ranking among the very best in the game despite missing the first month of the season.

After 81 games, Trout is batting .353 with an OPS of 1.019. He has 18 homers, 55 RBI, 80 runs scored and has 31 stolen bases. That's unheard of for anyone, let alone a guy who won't legally be able to drink until next week when his birthday arrives.

Trout has locked up the American League Rookie of the Year award. He could not play another game this season and win it unanimously. But as August arrives and the Angels battle for a playoff spot, some are thinking much higher for the young outfielder.

Lyle Spencer of MLB.com says Trout is on pace to win the AL MVP award.

Scioscia is close to running out of superlatives with respect to Trout.

"He's on his way to a remarkable career," Scioscia said. "He's just getting started, and look what he's doing. He's just an unbelievable baseball player."

Trout will be 21 on Aug. 7. Everywhere he goes, the Angels' superlative center fielder leaves fans stunned and in awe. He is Roy Hobbs or Mickey Mantle, depending on whether you favor reel or real life.

"Everyone says Mantle. I say he's Rickey [Henderson]," teammate Torii Hunter said. "The way he gets on base, steals, runs, hits with power -- that's Rickey, man. He's crazy good."

I'm pretty sure Angels fans would much rather Trout have a career similar to that of Mickey Mantle than that of Rickey Henderson, but that's a discussion for a different time.

As for Trout's MVP chances, only an injury or huge slump would keep from winning it all. Josh Hamilton has struggled in recent months, dropping him to a distant second place. Robinson Cano could have an outside chance, but he'd have to get awfully hot in August and September.

When the Angels brought up their top-prospect earlier this season they knew they were adding a talented player. What they didn't know is they were adding the eventual clear-cut favorite to bring home the American League's most coveted award.

For more on Trout and the Angels, check out Halos Heaven.