2013 Angels Review: Mark Trumbo


I’m a fan of the Angels and in particular, of Mark Trumbo.  When we were divvying up these reviews to write, I snatched up Trumbo as soon as I was able to, just ask the Halo Hangout crew, they’ll tell ya.  He’s one of the Angels who are on Twitter, his handle is @Mtrumbo44 if you didn’t know and don’t already follow him, he’s one of the few professional athletes that does not delete his tweets to people (a practice that I don’t understand, maybe someone can explain it to me sometime).

A few Christmases ago, I tweeted at him and wished him a Merry Christmas.

Mark then tweeted me back, sending me over the moon.

But for this review, I have to put the fangirl aside (to a point) and objectively look at the 2013 season.  Trumbo is often forgotten on a team that features Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout, but he shouldn’t be; there are a lot of reasons he should be remembered when thinking about the Angels lineup.

He’s a solid defender who has shown a willingness to play anywhere as long as it means he’s given the opportunity to play.  Last year there was the third base experiment that went on for a few games, but he spent the bulk of his time in the corner outfield spots.  This year, with Albert Pujols getting the majority of his starts at DH when he was playing, then going on the disabled list, Mark was the primary first baseman and played in only 27 total games at a different position, making only nine errors in 159 games.  It shows how durable and flexible he is to be able to play these positions competently when asked to.

But the focus for Mark Trumbo is always going to be on offense, not defense.

Every year since he’s been called up, he’s led the Angels in home runs and this year was no exception.  He had 34 home runs this year which led the Angels by seven, it was also good also enough for fourth in the league.  Along with those 34 home runs, he had 100 RBIs, which, likewise, was the team lead. And he trailed only Mike Trout in runs scored with 85.

But as with any power bat, strikeouts are a problem, and Trumbo did have a 27.1 percent strikeout rate while only walking 8 percent of the time.  And while he did lead the team in home runs and RBIs, his batting average was .234 on the year, where last year it was .268 and his OPS dropped from .808 to .747.

There are many encouraging signs though.  First of all, he’s only 27 years old, so of course there’s time to learn some discipline at the plate.  He had 66 extra base hits compared to 54 in 2012, and his home runs have increased every year, from 29 in 2011, 32 in 2012, up to 34 in 2013.  Maybe new hitting coach Don Baylor can instill in him some patience at the plate and give us a chance to see how much more of a threat he can be.

Because of the season the Angels had, and the well-known problems with starting pitching, the Angels are obviously going attempt to add reliable pitchers to the staff, and with the huge amounts being paid to both Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton (as well as money still being paid to Vernon Wells), the way it seems they’re going to acquire the pitching they want is through the trade market.  Since Mark Trumbo is up for arbitration this year, he’s being mentioned as a possible trade piece to bring in the pitching the Angels lack.

I personally would hate to see the Angels trade Mark Trumbo.  It seems exactly like another Mike Napoli scenario where they trade him and we have to watch as he succeeds for another team.  Instead of that, they should keep him since even after arbitration he’s still going to be reasonably priced and able to accomplish much more.  He’s still young and has shown readiness to both learn and contribute whatever is necessary. He’s resilient and reliable, he’s shown that he’s one of the best offensive players on the team, and he has the capacity to improve which would make him even more dangerous.  It would be a shame to lose all that and would suck to have to sit and watch the achievements he would inevitably rack up with another team.