Morhardt, one of scouts involved in Trout pick, let go by Angels

Greg Morhardt: 'I didn't think there was a better player than Mikey.' (Getty Images)
Greg Morhardt: 'I didn't think there was a better player than Mikey.' (Getty Images)

Greg Morhardt, the scout who received a lot of credit for the Angels’ prescient decision to select superstar Mike Trout in the 2009 draft as a little-known high school player out of Millville, N.J., has been told he will not be renewed by the Angels, becoming the second scout involved with that pick to be let go by the team.

Eddie Bane, the scouting director who ultimately took Trout in one of the better picks in draft history, was fired a couple years ago by the Angels. That one was really a curious move since Bane not only took Trout with the 25th overall pick but engineered a 2009 draft that was superb by any standard, including also Garrett Richards, Kole Calhoun and Randal Grichuk.

Rick Wilson and Jeff Malinoff, two more national scouts involved with the Trout pick, remain with the Angels, who have been baseball’s best team this year, thanks to not only Trout and that draft but also some very good decisions since then.

Bane, who also signed pitcher Matt Shoemaker as a free agent following the '09 draft, was let go by then-GM Tony Reagins, who was himself replaced. Bane is working in Boston’s front office now, under GM Ben Cherington.

Morhardt, a longtime baseball person who previously worked for the Mets, will hope to hook on with another club. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, who’s a candidate for GM of the year considering the Angels’ stellar season and best record in baseball, declined comment on the decision not to renew Morhardt except to say he wished Morhardt well.

Morhardt, an area scout at the time of the Trout pick who was eventually promoted to national cross-checker, had a great story to tell about Trout. Morhardt happened to play in the Twins minor leagues in the 1980s with Mike Trout’s father, Jeff Trout.

Bane was quoted in the Orange County Register in a November 2012 story saying no one could have predicted such early stardom for Trout -- though the story was that the Angels had Trout No. 2 on their board, behind only Stephen Strasburg, who went No. 1 overall to the Nationals.

Twenty-one teams passed on Trout, who had the handicap of playing in the Northeast. When the Angels heard the Yankees were about to take Trout with the very next pick, they purposely took Grichuk first to limit Trout’s signing bonus to something below Grichuk’s. (Of course, Trout eventually signed a $144.5-million, six-year extension this spring, which will also turn out to be a great deal for the Angels).

In that same 2012 Orange County Register story, Morhardt recalled how high he was on Trout.

"I didn't think there was a better player than Mikey," said Morhardt, who by that point had become a national cross-checker for the team. "I'll put him against anybody. Sometimes you have to jump out there a little bit. I didn't think there was a better amateur player in the country. At some point he's going to have a chance to be a Hall of Fame baseball player."

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