Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is It Time To Give Up On Mark Trumbo?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When Mark Trumbo re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 2017 season there were high expectations.  Of course he quickly disappointed, putting up pedestrian results (and that may be putting it mildly):

559 At Bats
.234 Batting Average (131 Hits)
23 Home Runs
65 RBI
79 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.289 On Base Percentage
.397 Slugging Percentage
.278 Batting Average on Balls in Play

We try not to read too much into spring stats, but coming off that type of year it’s hard to ignore seeing 9 K without an extra base hit in his first 16 AB.  Now we have to question if there is any reason to consider drafting him, regardless of the cost?

While strikeouts weren’t a significant issue (24.7%) last season, that doesn’t mean that his approach/discipline was strong:

  • SwStr% – 13.8%
  • O-Swing% – 34.5%

That led to 16.1% line drive rate and .278 BABIP, both of which are highly believable (career marks of 16.6% and .286).  With those numbers a strong average is never going to be possible, with the hope being that he is at least passable.  However we didn’t even get that, and considering his 31.4% strikeout rate in the second half (backing up his abysmal spring start) things could get that much worse.

Then we get to the power, which may be the bigger issue.  Look at these HR/FB numbers over the past few seasons and see which one you think seems like the outlier:

  • 2014 – 14.3%
  • 2015 – 14.5%
  • 2016 – 24.6%
  • 2017 – 13.8%

We can’t simply point to the home ballpark, considering he played in the same place in 2016 and 2017.  He also had a favorable home ballpark in 2014, as well as a portion of 2015 (when he played in Arizona).  There’s simply every reason to believe that he will continue struggling to hit for significant power.

So let’s look at the formula…

Poor average (with a strikeout increase likely)
Pedestrian power (25-29 HR, at best)
No speed

What about that makes you want to invest?  At this point it feels more likely that he loses his job as opposed to thriving.

Sources – Fangraphs,

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--


  1. steve says:

    first off love reading everything you guys write, i am always near or at the top of the standings thanks to you guys. If you have the time could you give me a little keeper help here.
    12 team obp and avg roto league. i keep 6 this year, 10 next, and more the following year. I would like to have a shot at it this year, but would like to be in position to win it all each of the next two years. keeping bregman, gordon, ozuna, and then i need to pick three out of contreras, pham, justin turner, devers, and segura. any help at all would be appreciated.

  2. steve says:

    forgot to mention 2 catcher league

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Severs i think games a step back this year but I’d a must keep for future appeal

      The other two I’d go Pham / Segura (I think So years a has more value as a trade chip)

      • steve says:

        thanks. based on those keepers do you think i realistically can compete this year or should i draft this year with the next two as the main focus. kinda not sure if i should go after guys like cano/cruz/santana, or reach for th elikes of acuna, calhoun, castillo, if they arent kept.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          I wouldn’t reach too far, and it’s not like a Carlo Santana won’t be productive for he next three years (i would downgrade Cruz, though). Acuna is the exception of the ones you noted, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t kept.

  3. wehsa says:

    Can you do this for Chris Davis?

  4. Jb says:

    And Buck will still hit him 3, 4, or 5 instead of putting Trey where he belongs. Never understood why last year Trey who I think had highest OBP hit below both Trumbo and Davis. No different than a Brandon Moss except he has a job

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