Of all the skills that Millville centerfielder Mike Trout possesses, the ability to impress others ranks right up there.
Whether it's an assistant coach or the commissioner of baseball, Trout has had the knack of making a favorable impression.
Despite the constant scrutiny of professional scouts watching his every move in batting practice hours before a game, Trout fed on the pressure instead of succumbing to it.
He batted .531 with a South Jersey-record 18 home runs, along with 45 RBIs, as Millville (22-4) set a school record for wins. Trout, The Inquirer's South Jersey player of the year, finished his career hitting .461 with 31 home runs and 121 RBIs.
So it wasn't shocking on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Angels made him a first-round draft choice, the 25th overall pick in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.
Nor was it surprising to hear the comments of commissioner Bud Selig, talking about Trout and the moxie he showed by being the only draft choice to show up for the event, staged at Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus.
"Anybody who had that kind of confidence and comes here and goes through that I think is tremendous," Selig said. "I hope more people will do it in the future."
As much as he accomplished on the field, there is one statement that countless people who knew Trout well made time and time again.
"As good a player as he is, Mike is even a better person," said Millville assistant coach Ken Williams.
Trout was under an ever-intensive microscope all season. Scouts would visit his home, call to see when his team was playing, and then watch his every single mannerism on the field.
Yet the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Trout, with gazelle-like speed, never buckled.
"It's a good feeling to have people watch you, and it makes you play better and the team play better," Trout said.
Trout, who won't turn 18 until August, has been a baseball enthusiast since he can remember. His father, Jeff, is a former minor-leaguer who once played for a manager named Charlie Manuel. Later, Jeff Trout was the head coach of Millville.
"When I was first working with Jeff, Mike was a little kid, running around the locker room throwing balls around," Millville coach Roy Hallenbeck said. "He never lost that youthful enthusiasm."