When you have a second-year player hitting over 30 home runs and driving in close to 100 runs, you want to make sure you keep him around, right?
Maybe not. Mark Trumbo has a lot of power, as anyone can see – 31 home runs and 92 RBIs. But that’s about all Trumbo offers.
He can’t run particularly well (four steals in nine attempts this season). He has awful plate discipline, as he has drawn 36 walks and struck out 147 times in 564 plate appearances in 2012, and there’s a few more games in which he will assuredly reach 150 strikeouts without topping 40 free passes – just the 22nd such instance in major league history.
Trumbo walked even fewer times in 2011, so it’s not as if this year projects to be an aberration. Trumbo’s 6.4 walk rate ranks 116th out of 143 qualifying hitters, and he has a 26.1 strikeout rate that ranks 130th out of 143 players. He’s hitting just .263 after hitting .254 last year, and he doesn’t seem to be the type of hitter that will ever hit .300.
He is awful in the field – so bad in fact that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have tried to hide him out in left field with Mike Trout in center field robbing home runs and making highlight reel plays multiple times per week. Trumbo finished second among AL first baseman in errors in 2011 (10) but he can’t be playing there anymore with Albert Pujols manning that position for the next decade.
The Angels tried Trumbo at third base and the results were laughable – a .714 fielding percentage in 63 innings. He made four errors in eight games, and the Angels quickly put the Trumbo at third base experiment to rest. In left field, he miraculously didn’t make any errors in 2012 but he rated as a -7.1 per 150 games for Ultimate Zone Rating, the new sabermetric defensive statistic.
Trumbo’s career projects to be very similar to that of a player like Alfonso Soriano, Ron Kittle, or Butch Hobson. Trumbo is already 26 years old and he could be a very valuable hitter for many teams looking for a right-handed power bat that can play the corner outfield (Philadelphia Phillies, anyone?).
Trumbo will be under team control through the 2016 season so that’s four more years of Trumbo for any team that trades for him.
The Angels will also continue to struggle to find ways in which all their talented hitters can be in the lineup – Pujols is locked in at first base and Kendrys Morales is the designated hitter for the time being. Trout isn’t going anywhere except to the next dozen All-Star teams, and the Angels have said they want to bring Torii Hunter back for the 2013 campaign.
Hunter is still a Gold Glove quality right fielder and Trout is a Gold Glover in center field. Peter Bourjos was the center fielder until Trout took over, and then the team moved him to left field. Bourjos had a rough year between trying to stay healthy, fighting for playing time, and seeing a sharp drop in his numbers. But he’s under team control for awhile too and that’s just too many outfielders/designated hitters for one team.