As televised professional drafts go, the first round of the 2009 Major League Baseball first-year player draft moved along at a very brisk pace.
Not for Mike Trout. Or his parents. Or the many other family members and coaches who gathered at MLB's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., to wait for the Millville High senior's name to be called.
All the while, though, Trout sat, seemingly patiently, between his parents, dad Jeff to his right, mom Debbie to his left, in the made-for-television dugout.
Trout, who set a New Jersey single-season record with 18 home runs this year for the Thunderbolts, was projected to go as high as a top-10 pick last night. But 10 came and went. And so did 15, and 20 and 24.
Finally, MLB studio reporter Jon Heyman talked with Trout after the Los Angeles Angels made their 24th pick and prepared to pick again at 25.
"I'm getting nervous. We'll see where it goes," Trout told Heyman.
It didn't go much further. Three minutes later, at 8:08, commissioner Bud Selig announced that the Angels had indeed selected the 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder who hit .531 this season. He hugged his parents and other family members and friends.
"It was nerve-wracking," said Trout, who has committed to East Carolina University. "Going into the draft, I knew the Angels were going to pick me. Before [his name was called] I got a text [between picks], and my adviser told me that they would pick me.
"I couldn't get any sleep [the night] before this. I was up all night playing PlayStation. Me and my family had dinner a few weeks ago with [Angels scout] Eddie Bane, and he said they really liked me. But the waiting wasn't easy. My feet were going a mile a minute there."
Predictably, the early part of the first round was dominated by pitching, as 11 of the first 15 picks were hurlers. Trout was the 12th high school player taken. He finished his career at Millville with a .461 average with 31 home runs, 121 RBI, 151 runs, 70 stolen bases and 142 hits. He is the first South Jersey high school player taken in the first round since Bishop Eustace's Billy Rowell was taken ninth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 2006.
Trout, who will turn 18 on Aug. 7, certainly is familiar with pro baseball; his dad played for 4 years in the Minnesota Twins' minor league system in the early 1980s, including two seasons for the Double A Orlando Twins. His manager was Charlie Manuel.
His parents will have to sign his major league contract, since Trout is not yet of age to do so. Each of last year's first-round selections got signing bonuses of at least $1.1 million.
Of his playing minor league ball, Trout said: "That's a challenge that I'll be ready for, as soon as I sign, I'm ready to go. This is something that I've always worked for and something that I've always wanted. I'm ready for it."
The whole family is.
"We couldn't be more pleased," Jeff Trout said. "The Angels are a solid, winning organization, and the reason why they pick late every year is because they're in the playoffs."
Trout, the only player to accept an invitation to the Secaucus studios, was praised by studio analyst Harold Reynolds for "having the guts and nerves to sit through it." Reynolds then pleaded with players to make the trip in the future, and used the excitement surrounding Trout after his selection to pad his case.
As the draft was concluding for the night, Reynolds noted: "There are two things people will remember about this draft - [No. 1 pick] Stephen Strasburg and Mike Trout."
Same with Mike Trout and his family and friends. The wait was well worth it. *