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Mike Trout on cusp of mega-stardom

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout smiles as

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout smiles as he waits to hit during batting practice during spring training practice on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, in Tempe, Ariz. Credit: AP / Ross D. Franklin

TEMPE, Ariz. - He is young, gifted and unsatisfied. Mike Trout of the Angels has been described as the best player in the game, which only makes him want to get better.

"I keep thinking about putting up good numbers," he said recently. Not the numbers in a bank account. The ones in the record books.

Barring an injury, it is inevitable that Trout, 22, who was a star at Millville (N.J.) High -- someone nicknamed him the "Millville Meteor" -- will be wealthy. Very wealthy. He'll have a salary up there in the Cliff Lee, Joe Maurer, Prince Fielder ranks.

On Feb. 25, Trout signed a one-year, $1-million contract, the highest for a one-year deal with a player not yet eligible for salary arbitration. The Angels and Trout's agent, Craig Landis, reportedly are negotiating a contract of six years in the area of $150 million.

"It makes you feel good inside," Trout said of the recent signing. "It makes you feel like they want you here."

Why would they not want a man who in his only two full seasons in the majors finished second in the American League MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera?

Who in those 2012 and 2013 seasons, according to ESPN research, reached base 564 times, the most of anyone -- two more times than Cabrera.

Who is one of four players, along with Albert Pujols, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams -- now those are some names -- to hit .320 and total 50 home runs and 200 runs scored in his first two full seasons.

Marcel Lachemann is a special assistant to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who once managed the team. Lachemann, 72, started his career as a pitcher for the Oakland A's, playing minor-league ball with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.

"This kid," Lachemann said of Trout, "is just like Reggie at 21. He can do everything. He is really special. The only thing he can't do as well as Reggie could is throw, because Reggie had a great arm.

"This guy's got power, too, like Reggie. He's a super kid, as good as you can find. He plays the game right, which Reggie did, too, runs every ball out, plays every inning hard."

That, said Trout, comes from his father, Jeff, who spent four years in the Twins' minor-league system before retiring to raise a family and become a high school baseball coach and math teacher.

"Our first rule of the house was to be a good person," Trout told Alden Gonzalez of "No. 1 and No. 2, be a good person."

Trout is polite in interviews, if a bit bland. He'll wave at autograph-seekers standing near a dugout and say, "Got to get my work in, but I'll do it later." And he returns later.

He said he thinks some Angels fans keep balls in their cars in case they happen to run into him, but that doesn't perturb Trout in the least.

"It's cool to get recognized in public," he said. "It's an incredible feeling."

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