Is A 2015 Bounce Back On The Horizon For Mark Trumbo?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Heading to Arizona there was significant optimism surrounding Mark Trumbo. Having posted back-to-back 30+ home run campaigns and now calling a favorable ballpark home, there were high hopes for even bigger numbers in 2014. While injury helped suppress his production, the bottom line is that it ultimately wasn’t there:

328 At Bats
.235 Batting Average (77 Hits)
14 Home Runs
61 RBI
37 Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.293 On Base Percentage
.415 Slugging Percentage
.274 Batting Average on Balls in Play

While it wasn’t abysmal, it also wasn’t quite what we expected. Assuming he’s healthy, could Trumbo simply get there a year later than expected? Let’s take a look.

His home run per flyball was down from the past two seasons:

  • 2012 – 20.6%
  • 2013 – 20.9%
  • 2014 – 14.3%

However, he still posted an average distance on non-groundballs of 286.657. Considering that he was at 272.620 in 2012 and 276.660 in 2013, there’s little concern. If he’s healthy he is going to hit over 30 HR in 2015, and he’s one of the few players in the game who could push 40.

What about his average, which has always been a concern. He actually reduced his strikeout rate to a manageable 24.6% and was even better, at 23.7% after the All-Star Break (which also represented a much bigger sample size). In fact, his O-Swing% has actually been trending in the right direction every season:

  • 2011 – 42.7%
  • 2012 – 40.2%
  • 2013 – 38.4%
  • 2014 – 35.4%

While it was still above the 31.3% league average. it does give hope moving forward.

Of course, he doesn’t hit the ball on a line very often (career 16.2% line drive rate) and he does pop it up a lot (14.0% career IFFB). Those two things are going to make it impossible to maintain an elevated BABIP, barring some extreme luck. Still, improved power and the improved strikeout rate could lead to an average in the .250-.260 range, with a little bit more possible.

Hitting behind Paul Goldschmidt, meaning ample RBI chances, that’s more than enough. That’s not to say that there aren’t limitations, as he offers no speed and also isn’t likely to score many runs, but power is at a premium and if he puts together a line of .255/35/95, whose going to complain?

Think Lucas Duda with more upside, as he hit .253 with 30 HR, 92 RBI and 74 R a year ago. Or maybe David Ortiz, who is coming off a year where he hit .263 with 35 HR, 104 RBI and 59 R. In fact, Trumbo has more upside than both of those seasons making him an intriguing target for 2015.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps

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