In our 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, we listed Mark Trumbo as a $2 player in auction league’s with a projected PSR of 1.10. We thought that he’d struggle to find playing time for the Angels with Albert Pujols manning first base, Torii Hunter, Mike Trout, and Vernon Wells roaming the outfield, and Kendrys Morales standing in as the team’s DH. Combined with a drop in per-game production, it looked like Trumbo might be one of the most overrated players in fantasy.
Instead, Trumbo bested all of his totals from 2011 in almost exactly the same number of plate appearances, pushing his overall ranking to 92nd overall for the year.
Trumbo didn’t have the most balanced season, though. He raced out of the gate quickly, batting .306 with 22 HR and 57 RBI in 77 games before the All-Star Break. In 67 games after the Break, Trumbo struggled to just .227 with 10 HR and 38 RBI. The culprit? His strikeout rate. Before the Break, Trumbo struck out just 20.8% of the time, but after the Break he struck out 32.2% of the time. His BABIPs weren’t very different — .327 before, .302 after — but his strikeout rate rose by over 50%.
The strikeouts were responsible for declines all around as the season wore on, most notably with his batting average, and a drop in HR/FB rate from 24.4% in the first half to 15.4% in the second half did in his power totals. And when you strike out more, you’re putting fewer balls in play, and fewer balls in play means fewer fly balls overall. That equals fewer homers, which is Trumbo’s primary source of value.
At a Glance
Strengths: HR, RBI, SLG
Neutral: R, BA, OPS
Weaknesses: SB, OBP
Best-case scenario: Mark Teixeira (NYY)
Likely scenario: Ike Davis (NYM), Chris Davis (BAL), Jason Kubel (ARI)
Worst-case scenario: Pedro Alvarez (PIT)
Mark Trumbo 2013 Fantasy Projection
All players are prone to variance — hot streaks and cold streaks — and some players are prone to much more substantial swings. Trumbo wasn’t prone to these swings too much in 2011, but last year gives us all cause for concern. Is he the balanced player he looked to be during his rookie season or the frustrating two-act player we saw last year?
Because of the split nature of his 2012 season, Trumbo does worry me a little more in H2H leagues than roto. I feel confident in our overall projected 2013 stat line, but I don’t know exactly how or when he’ll arrive at those numbers.
The departure of Morales vacates the Angels’ DH spot, and that’s where Trumbo will see the majority of his playing time in 2013. That should be a check mark in his favor in fantasy leagues, and there’s also the chance Trumbo qualifies at third base in fantasy leagues after playing/starting eight games at the position last year.
In OBP leagues Trumbo should be downgraded heavily. While he did increase his walk rate last year, it still was only 6.6%. Along with what will be a poor batting average, Trumbo’s poor walk rate almost guarantees an OBP under .330. Last year it was .317, which ranked 112th of the 148 players who registered 500 plate appearances.