There Ain’t No Time To Stash the Trumbo

Either I do way too many mock drafts and have personally skewed the ADP numbers everywhere or the word is out. Mark Trumbo is a hot commodity this season. Though his positioning found here in our “consensus rankings” at both first base and in the outfield  doesn’t exactly scream, “You want Mark Trumbo,” I firmly believe that you do.

I know, I know. I said the same thing last season about Jason Heyward and he turned into a big bust thanks to a lost battle with the injury bug, but hey…I also said it about Adam Jones the year before and look who’s a first-round draft choice two years after the big breakout was called by yours truly. However, I’m not saying it in the same way, though I do feel equally passionate. But how do you tell someone they want a two-time 30-home run hitter because you expect him to push past the 40-homer barrier this season? That’s like telling you to not eat a piece of delicious chocolate fudge cake because the one next to it has more fudge. It’s not that I’m saying that Trumbo is going to have some crazy, big breakout this season like Jones did back in 2012, but I am saying that the move to Arizona, coupled with his growth in other areas, leads me to believe that he still has more to offer his fantasy owners.

There are a number of indicators which point towards Trumbo having an even bigger year here in 2014 and obviously it starts with the new home park. Chase Field is much more hitter/homer-friendly than Angel Stadium and actually has a home run park factor for right-handed hitters that’s roughly eight-percent higher. Couple that with a steady rise in his HR/FB and another big increase in doubles and we should be looking at a breach of the 40-home run barrier.

Now many dissenters are going to come at you with his strikeout increase and low batting average, but if you actually delve deeper into the numbers, there are a lot more improvements to be found. He’s always going to have a strikeout total higher than you’d like and he’s never going to hit .280 for the year. That’s a detractor for most big home run hitters these days. But his walk rate has improved in each of his last three years as has his batting eye. The improvements might not be ginormous, but a steadily improving BB/K is a good thing. With a line drive rate that keeps getting better, stronger plate discipline and maybe a little help from the luck dragons of the BABIP universe, he can hold that average in the .260 range which, for a guy who’s going to mash you 40-bombs, is pretty damn good.

And how about that stronger plate discipline? We’ve conceded the strikeouts and acknowledged the improved walk rate, but how about the steadily improving swing rates? Slowly but surely he’s improved his pitch selection over the last three seasons. He’s swinging at fewer pitches and, more importantly he’s swinging at fewer pitches outside the zone each year. I tried to look to see if the pitch mix is substantially different moving from the AL to the NL, but the numbers tell me they’re pretty much the same. There were fewer changeups and more sinkers thrown in the NL last season, something that, believe it or not, favors Trumbo, but the difference isn’t enough to base anything on; especially with all the crossover movement of free agent pitchers these days. But the bottom line is that, after three seasons, he’s doing what he can to be a better hitter.

Now I’m not sure why Eno and the Gang (stop right now…I already called dibs on that for my new band name) aren’t showing my man Trumbo any love in the FanGraphs rankings. Perhaps they’re weighting the strikeouts and batting average too much or maybe they just don’t believe in some of the indicators I’ve mentioned. But many others are drinking the Kool-Aid too so acquiring Trumbo and his power looks like it’s going to cost you a fourth or fifth round pick. In fact, in the NFBC, his ADP has gone up 10.2-percent over the last month and it’s even higher on Mock Draft Central, so the “secret” is out.

Dual-position eligibility? 40 bombs? Hitter-friendly park? Improved work at the plate? Gimme! Considering who else is going in the fourth round, I’ll gladly grab me some Trumbo…who rattles around the cage; the batting cage, that is. Oh yeah.




Print This Post

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com


35 Responses to “There Ain’t No Time To Stash the Trumbo”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Jeff says:

    Greatest headline ever.

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • scotman144 says:

      He was just phishing for compliments

      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • NMR says:

      Phangraphs, FTW

      +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Schide says:

      I got so excited when I saw the headline that I skipped right past the article and rushed to the comments.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • camus says:

        +1

        me too!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • John Elway says:

        Hay in all seriousness Trumbo is one of the best examples of a player whose “warts” negate the fact that he provides real value both in regular and fantasy baseball. The BB/K improvement recalls a young Tim Salmon who (defensive differences aside) is not an entirely bad correlation to Mr. Trumbo, not to mention the fact that any concerns about Trumbo’s power being negated by the DBacks fanatic obsession with high contact %ages must be allayed by the fact that he has parlayed his formative years under the aforementioned Mike Scioscia into strong ISO and SLG numbers notwithstanding.

        Hay, who am I fooling. I just skipped to the comment section too after that great headline.

        NEIGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mars says:

      the sacrifice bunt made bubbles and Gibby is everywhere enraged?

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. benagain123 says:

    got Trumbo for 13$ in a mixed league auction. as my 3rd outfielder!!!!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. John Axford's Mustache says:

    I clicked on this article solely for the headline.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Phil McCracken says:

    What about Trumbo OBP league vs AVG?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      His OBP isn’t much better in relative terms, but again, with some help in the BABIP department and an improving walk rate, if he can trim down the strikeouts even just a little, his OBP will improve. If you play in a league that counts OPS, even better.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Lenard says:

    What about the rumblings that Trumbo might hit lower in the lineup? I mean, I’ll believe it when I see it, but still.

    Also, would offering Joey Bats and a 2015 6th round pick for Trumbo and a 2015 3rd rounder be fair? If not, how should I change the draft picks? I’m trying to build a nice little stockpile so hopefully I can use others picks as chips around the deadline.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      I don’t see him hitting lower. Not sure how that would even make sense. He and Goldy should be hitting 3/4 in that lineup. As for your trade, it’s probably a reasonable offer, but since the injury, Joey Bats isn’t the hitter he once was. You might have to increase the pick you’re offering or decrease the one you’re getting. Not by a huge margin but somewhere in the middle.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • camus says:

        re. the trade

        the analysis sounds like if Trumbo consolidates swing s % and improves his b walk rate, gets a little ‘lucky’ via babip etc, his upside is….Joey Bautista?

        Age, injury etc ya ya ya, even with regression it could be from 2011 levels, not the seasons of injury. Another high value season or two seems easy to believe so ling as he stays in the field.

        Add on league, park, and supporting offensive cast, Trumbo for Joey Bats straight would be questionably risky.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Howard Bender says:

        I don’t see Joey Bats climbing back to 40 home runs. I’d be real surprised if he does.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Lenard says:

        My line of thinking was that Trumbo and Joey Bats are going to be pretty comparable at the end of the season, provided they both stay healthy, fantasy-wise, and even IF Trumbo performed worse, I would be able to net a higher pick in the next season’s draft. And Bautista’s health is definitely a bit more of a risk factor at this point.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Valuearb says:

        He hit 6th yesterday. Gibby is serious about two things, slagging pitchers arms and suboptimal lineups, and he’s running out of arms to slag.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. stonepie says:

    the plummeting z-contact % scares me

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      Yeah, that’s coming a lot from the strikeouts increase and 14-percent SwStr%. I’m hoping that he reins in the whiffs even just a little. Let them plateau, just not get any worse, and his Z-contact rates should level off. I don;t see him swinging for the fences as dramatically this year with the friendlier ballpark, so that should help.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jeff says:

        Won’t teams realize that he’s missing in the zone and throw him more junk? I don’t know why we should expect a plateau when he’s trending a certain way.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Alan says:

    Isn’t Heyward a value this year? I constantly see him available late into the 5th and 6th rounds in 12 team leagues. He had two freak injuries last year and improved his SO% and LD%. Everyone knows he has crazy power potential. Isn’t now the time to jump on him? You don’t have to have him breakout, but if he does you get 3 or 4 rounds extra value out of him where as last year since he needed to be drafted in the 2/3 round you really needed him to breakout for your team’s sake.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      Agreed. I do think this is a great time to grab Heyward given where he’s falling in most drafts.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Mr Hogg says:

    He’s such a clumsy fielder that it’s hard to imagine Gibby not subbing for him at every opportunity, including benching him altogether never mind the power. All these articles about how he works on his fielding just feed my conviction that it’s a big big problem. It’s mind-bendingly congenitally bad. The metrics that can capture the badness will be advanced indeed because he finds so many ways to prolong an inning. It’s almost better that he be in the outfield actually since the damage he could do at 1B was so immense. Rivaled only by Prince.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Bender says:

      I could see Gibby subbing for him every now and again during close games the D-Backs are winning, but he’s not benching him outright. That would just be ridiculous, in my opinion.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • centerfield_ballhawk says:

      According to the report during the DBacks spring training game, Trumbo has been working with one of the coaches on route running and footwork in the outfield. He has add supposedly shown some progress.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Matt says:

    What scares me, along with the under 300 OBP 2 of the last 3 years, are the extended slumps. Jun-Aug 2013, 301 ABs, 209/263/419. Aug-Oct 2012, 192 ABs, 208/250/302. Sure he might hit 40 HR, but he’s also produced month-long stretches of below replacement level every year. I don’t want that from a round 4 pick, especially not when I can get similar potential/risk from Brandon Moss in round 10+ or Chris Carter in round 15+ And even moreso in OBP or OPS leagues, since they can actually take a walk. Trumbo’s OBP was dead last for both 1B & OF last year, and the OPS was in the bottom half, below replacement level for both positions. No way I’m taking someone in the top 50 when his best case is top 40 value (66th & 97th the last two years on yahoo’s player rater even with 30+ HR & 95+ RBI) and the worst case is unusable.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cybo says:

      I’m with Matt here on Trumbo. He’s basically Adam Dunn minus the walks and plus .020-.030 pts of avg. As Matt said, Moss in the 10th, Carter in the 15th, or even Dunn in the 20th all offer much more value. I’ll grab an arm in the 5th or 6th then grab Moss/Carter/Dunn/Tex in the mid-late rounds thank you very much.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. qpontiac says:

    Respect on the headline.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Mike says:

    I worry about the power-outage against RH pitching. He hits lefties hard but righties owned him last year – especially in the 2nd half.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. garett68 says:

    Quick Side note, Looking to fill out the rest of a new Ottoneu League (This is Fantasy Baseball). Auction Draft, Fangraphs Points, group arbitration $99, draft on 3/23. Email me at garettmarcum@gmail.com

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Fish says:

    Based on battted ball distance provided by Zimmerman Trumbo was playing over his head in terms of HR/FB rate.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. frsbeeman says:

    clicked on the article for the headline as well. well done.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>