Mike Trout had been called up, Bobby Abreu had been DFA’d, and the fan base was ready to turn the page both proverbially and literally.
Last year, as the calendar was getting ready to turn over from April to May, the Angels were getting ready to close the book on a month that would leave them heading into the “flower” month with an 8-15 record, zero Albert Pujols home runs, and a mountain of uncertainty for a team that Sports Illustrated had picked to win the World Series.
Flying under the radar at that moment was one, Mark Trumbo. After a rookie campaign that saw him finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but with big time question marks surrounding his on-base abilities (.291 OBP!? GADZOOKS!), Trumbo got off to a good start in 2012. Why do I say good? Well, let’s go to the chart, shall we….[table “4” not found /]
Not too shabby, huh? Trumbo forced Mike Scioscia to insert him into the lineup everyday with his consistent hitting, even though his play third base left
a little a lot a metric (bleep)ton to be desired.
You’re probably wondering why I bring this up. Well, those are the stats from the first 22 games of 2012. After 22 games played in 2013, this is what Trumbo’s current stat line looks like:[table “3” not found /]
Look similar to you? Mark hasn’t been getting jerked around this year like he was last year, so he had 19 more PA/AB at this point compared to last year. But instead of hitting a home run once every 19.5 PA like he was last year at this point, he’s currently hitting one once every 32.3 PA. He is however hitting doubles more frequently (13.9/PA compare to 19.5/PA last season), which is fantastic considering Howie Kendrick hits behind him in the lineup. Now, why is this important? Look below.[table “5” not found /]
That would be Mark’s stat line from game number 23 through game number 44, better known as, “When Mark Trumbo gave notice that American League pitchers, should really, watch the hell out.” Trumbo hit just about anything in sight for those three weeks, and probably earned his All Star Game invite with that one torrid stretch. Considering that the current offense is ranked number two behind the Tigers so far in this young season, a hot streak like that would be far more beneficial to this year’s squad.
Don’t worry, I can read. I absolutely do notice the 68 point difference in slugging, but at this time last year, Trumbo was striking out in 27.5% of his at bats. Currently, Mark is striking out in 23.7%. He had a robust 9.8% walk rate last year which is much more desirable that the 6.2% walk rate he is currently sporting, but that 6.2% rate would still be better than what he finished with last year. I would much prefer a consistent 6% walk rate from month to month, then have to stomach the 2.3% walk rate Mark had in September last year.
What does this all mean? Well, it could mean nothing. It probably does mean nothing. This is most likely just an exercise in futility. But after watching Trums tattoo a knee high slider the other night in Seattle to dead center field (A home run that was described to me as a “screamer”), and then murder a baseball in Oakland, I’m going to line up with the optimistic folks. Because everyone digs the long ball, not just chicks, and if Trumbo is starting to heat up, there are a lot of them coming in the very near future.