Mark Trumbo Player Projection No. 153

Key Stats:  Your 2011 AL Rookie of the Year ladies and gents. Despite a .254 AVG, Trumbo provided us with 29 HR’s and 87 runs which were both tops on the Angels. The 9 steals as a first baseman are icing on the cake. He had an ISO of .223 (30th in baseball).

Skeptics Say: He doesn’t have a very good eye. Trumbo swung at 42.7% of the pitches that were thrown outside of the strike zone. Of qualified batters only five swung at a higher percentage of those pitches.  If this was a veteran it’s a red flag, but rookies learning the strike zone is common. Likewise, his first pitch strike percentage is in the wrong end of the top 30 of qualified batters. So here we have a young player that swings at bad pitches and is behind early and often in counts. He struck out 120 (20.9%) times, but he only walked 26 (4.4%) times. He posted an OBP of .291 and at 26 years old, even for a rookie, we would have liked to see that a bit higher.

Peer Comparison: I had this amazing comparison of stats for Trumbo to Mike Stanton’s Rookie year, it really showed the power capabilities and strikeout tendencies of each in a gripping read. It was awesome, Pulitzer prize type stuff. Then I realized that Trumbo was a 26 year old rookie. Stanton just finished his 2nd year of pro ball and isn’t 22 yet. So I scrapped that. I started thinking of other power hitting first basemen that have strikeout problems and hit a lot of infield flyballs. Adam Dunn came to mind. Looking at their rookie seasons show they were pretty similar.

Trumbo:  573 AB’s, .254 AVG, 29 HR, .223 ISO
Dunn:      535 AB’s, .249 AVG, 26 HR, .206 ISO

Dunn played 66 games in 2001, but I took his 2002 line since the amount of AB’s was easily comparable. As you can see both guys are high power, low average. Dunn whiffed WAY more than Trumbo (170 K’s to 120) and that appears to be the sole factor to his lower average that year since he sported a much friendlier BABIP than Trumbo did (.313 to .274). Both players batted ball stats are comparable.

Team Outlook: Even with the AL ROY at first, and a potentially healthy Kendrys Morales, Cliff Corcoran of SI.com thinks the Angels will be making a push for Pujols or Fielder. If that happens and they can get one of them Trumbo could be DH, or be traded. It’s worth keeping an eye on, but you shouldn’t have to try very hard to keep up on either of those two guys this winter. *Update on 12/8* – Pujols has signed with the Angels. ESPN is reporting that Trumbo is going to DH. 

A Blogger’s Take: Trumbo has a lot going for him, but he also has a lot working against him.  Obviously he has that eye-popping home run power and that will always be his calling card.  On an Angel team that is so starved for power, that is most likely going to keep him in the lineup… although where he will be playing on the field remains to be seen.  Nominally a first baseman, Trumbo might have to move to DH to make way for the return of Kendrys Morales, though that is still up in the air.  But DH figures to be crowded since Mike Trout could start the season in left, thus creating a logjam at DH involving Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu and Trumbo.  The Halos are keenly aware of this and have signed off on Trumbo experimenting at third base this winter.  He actually was a 3B when drafted, but this seems like a desperation move that even Trumbo doesn’t think much of.  Mike Scioscia values defense quite a bit, so even if Trumbo does take well to third, he probably won’t be more than a part-timer at that position.

Lack of position isn’t Trumbo’s biggest problem though.  As the statheads out there know all too well, Trumbo is allergic to walks, posting a paltry .291 OBP.  That is A LOT of outs for one guy to make.  That OBP issue is one of the big reasons why Scioscia has been so reluctant to bat Trumbo in the middle of the order despite his immense power.  Plus, new GM Jerry DiPoto has alluded to making OBP a priority going forward, so there is a chance that Trumbo could quickly become persona non grata.  I’m sure he’ll be given a chance to prove himself and that he can be more patient, but he never walked much in the minors either, so it isn’t like he is suddenly going to turn into Bobby Abreu in one off-season. – Garrett Wilson, Monkey With A Halo

Projection:  The alarmingly low on base percentage (.291), the low line drive rate (15.9%) and high percentage of infield flies (17.3%) are all factors that make you want to look for a power threat somewhere else, but a good ISO, a below league average BABIP and a team that is committed to improving their offense are silver linings. If Trumbo can’t improve his OBP, I would proceed with caution in leagues that use OPS despite the gaudy power numbers.

.260 AVG, 29 HR, 85 RBI, 63 R, 6 steals, .300 OBP, .797 OPS in 510 AB’s.