Is Trumbo Done At 3B/Did He Ever Have A Chance?

By MJ Lloyd

Mark Trumbo is clicking on all cylinders with the stick this season. With 12 home runs and an impressive .337/.387/.629 slash line (aided by .387 BABiP compared to .274 in 2011), Mike Scioscia has to keep Trumbo in the lineup. A corner outfield spot is his most likely fielding destination for the foreseeable future. An injury to Vernon Wells and an underwhelming offensive start from Peter Bourjos have led to an opening in the outfield for Trumbo. The preseason chatter about Trumbo playing third base lasted all of eight games.

While the 63.0 innings spent manning the hot corner qualifies as a really small sample size, I’m going to pick on his defensive adventures at third base anyway. If errors and fielding percentage are your thing (and they shouldn’t be), Trumbo’s four errors and .714% in eight games is what they call “not good” in the mainstream media.

The advanced metrics hate him too. Of players with 60+ innings at a position, Trumbo’s -97.6 UZR/150 at third base is the worst in the Majors followed by Josh Bell at third base (-90.2) and Mark Trumbo in left field (-57.3). His defensive runs saved at third is -3. If you stretch that out over 135 games, you get -57 runs saved. By my math, a traffic cone would have roughly -30 runs saved over that time. So Trumbo isn’t very good with the leather. The bat must play.

It was going to be hard for Trumbo to get any reps at first base where he could do the least amount of damage since Kendrys Morales is heating up and with inter-league play approaching. There’s also that Albert Pujols fella. All of that leads to this silly scenario…

In order to play Trumbo in the outfield and keep DH Morales’ hot bat in the lineup, Scioscia said he plans to put Morales at first and Pujols at third. At least for a few games. Pujols has logged 2.2 innings at third this season so there’s that. Pujols is a fine athlete so if Miguel Cabrera can pretend to play third base, I suppose Pujols can fake it for a couple. But Morales hasn’t played the field in two years. So there is a chance everybody gets hurt.

Either way, it looks like Trumbo’s time at third base will strictly be in a rounding manner now. And I spent so much time writing emails for opposing teams to play Yakety Sax when Trumbo was fielding third.