Headed into 2012, Mark Trumbo stood pretty close to the top of the “most overrated lists” from the perspective of most advanced baseball sites. Yes, 29 homers, 87 runs batted in, and a second-place finish in the Rookie of the Year ballot in 2011 looked really nice on the surface, but you didn’t have to look too hard to see signs of concern beyond that. The ugly .291 OBP stands out, of course, but the high strikeout rate and total inability to take a walk were even more concerning. Of the 145 qualified hitters in 2011, only two had a lower BB/K mark, and beating out Miguel Olivo for anything should hardly be a cause for celebration. It wasn’t hard to think that pitchers could exploit that weakness in Trumbo’s second time around the league, especially when he would also have to contend with attempting to learn a new position. With the imported Albert Pujols and the recovering Kendrys Morales taking most of the first base / designated hitter time, Trumbo was asked to try to convert to third base.
This all made for a very uncertain forecast for the 26-year-old Angel, one that tempered many expectations… and then he defied us all by getting off to a crazy hot start. By the end of a phenomenal May, Trumbo was sitting at .348/.396/.632, and while third base hadn’t quite worked out, his bat was reason enough for the Angels to cut Bobby Abreu and minimize Vernon Wells in order to give Trumbo regular playing time in the outfield corners. Over the next two months, the average and OBP dropped as you’d expect, but the power remained, with 17 blasts over June & July along with a place on the American League All-Star team. Read the rest of this entry »