Mark Trumbo: Slump or Something More?
Mark Trumbo has been a lightning rod for the Los Angeles Angels ever since his unexpected bursting onto the scene in 2011. Putting up astounding power numbers in relatively limited at bats, Trumbo gave the otherwise lethargic Halo offense a much needed jolt. His dominance at the plate forced manager Mike Scioscia to find creative ways to squeeze him into the lineup despite his abysmal work on the defensive end.
Trumbo only continued to improve entering the 2012 season, putting up gaudy numbers in the first half of the season leading to an All star appearance and MVP buzz that was only overshadowed by the tour de force known as Mike Trout. After a failed experiment at third base, Trumbo also found his spot in the already crowded Angels outfield as he thrived defensively in the corner outfield spots where he showed off the arm of a man who was originally recruited as a pitcher. Hitting over .300 with 22 home runs prior to the break, as well as a ridiculous display of his power during the Home Run Derby put Trumbo in the national conversation, and filled Angel fans with delight as he exceeded even their wildest expectations.
Things were just never the same for Trumbo coming out of the break though, as his average slipped to just .227 with a measly 10 home runs. It was clear just watching Trumbo at the plate that his confidence was completely shaken. The more restrained, patient approach he had shown in the first half was out the window as he took wild swings at pitches nowhere near the zone. It reached a point where it was obvious on slow motion replays that Trumbo was committing the cardinal sin every little league baseball coach preaches, he was taking his eye off the ball and taking wild cuts through the air. It was evident that Trumbo’s frustration was growing and growing, but he was just not able to turn it around before the season came to a close despite having his spot in the lineup be readjusted several times. This raises a slight concern coming into the 2013 season, was this second half an aberration or a new trend for Mark Trumbo?
For their part, Los Angeles clearly believes that Trumbo’s second half was a fluke, as their signing of Josh Hamilton and trading of Kendrys Morales has set up Trumbo to be the everyday designated hitter in the Angels lineup. When it comes to regaining his previous form, it all comes down to achieving the same level of confidence that he had less than a year ago. The concept of striking a small orb traveling upwards of ninety miles per hour with thin wooden stick is an absurd idea, and one that we wouldn’t think is possible if not having seen it done on a consistent basis for over a century. These professional athletes know they have the ability to do it, they just need to see it to help them believe it from time to time. Nothing has physically changed for Mark Trumbo since his MVP level performance, he just needs to help his body overcome the mind.