Ah, the story of Mark Trumbo and the wild ride that was his 2012 season. For those who did manage to grab Trumbo, their apparent genius was rewarded handsomely… at first. Trumbo started heating up in May and carried that through July, looking like the fantasy steal of 2012. From May through July, Trumbo socked 24, count ‘em, 24 home runs! Trumbo added 61 RBIs and also hit .300 over that span, for those of you who are into that sort of thing and his OPS’s for those months? 1.077, .899, and .864. Trumbo was well on his way to a tremendous season, when he didn’t see that wall and ran right into it.
In August, Trumbo hit a meager three dingers, hitting .304, with an OPS of .550. Mr. Trumbo did not fare much better in September and October when he socked two home runs with a .214 average and an OPS of .554. Quite a turnaround for the big fella, wouldn’t ya say? Well, of course the question going into 2013 is, which, if either, is the true Mark Trumbo? The guy who was just mashing for three months or the one who could barely hit himself out of a wet paper bag for the last two months? Obviously the two are pretty much on opposite ends of the spectrum here, so just what exactly are we to expect from Trumbo in 2013?
Well, let us take a look at Trumbo’s final numbers, first. Trumbo finished with 32 home runs and 95 RBIs and an OPS of .808. Of course 24 of those 32 home runs were in that three-month span of May through June. Which means Trumbo hit eight home runs in the other three months. Now we all know the power is there for Trumbo, but will the power be consistent or will Trumbo owners have to take the famine with the feast? The biggest difference in August through the end of the season was Trumbo’s home run to fly ball rate. About a quarter of Trumbo’s flyballs were leaving the yard in the first four months, but this rate dropped to 14.3% in August and then right on down to 7.4% in September. Obviously a big factor in the long ball drop off. Of course, it was not just the long balls that dropped off, it was Mark Trumbo’s entire offensive output that fell off a cliff. So what exactly happened?
Well, first off, it seems that either pitchers were starting to figure Trumbo out or he was just not being as patient. Perhaps even a combination of both. Look at Trumbo’s strikeout percentage by month ion 2012:
March/ April – 27.5%
September/ October- 33.7%
The K-rate took a huge jump in the last two months of the season, but Trumbo was also not getting on base as much down the stretch. In September Trumbo had a walk rate of 2.3%, helping him to a .233 OBP for the month. I shouldn’t have to tell you dem’s some outrageously bad numbers in both categories. Unfortunately I do not have info on Trumbo’s plate discipline numbers by month, but I think it is safe to say that he was probably pressing as he headed into September. Or was it something else? Trumbo experienced back spasms in July and it is possible that this lingered with him into the final two months and really sapped his power. If the back spasm issue was the primary cause this is good news for Trumbo going into 2013. So, if this is the case, should you expect more of May through July Trumbo? Well, I wouldn’t go quite go that far.
Look, those middle month were torrid and I don’t think there are many people out there who think the .300 average over that span is sustainable, so we’re gonna stay focused on the power. The home run/ power pace for that month was a bit more than expected and I am not quite sure those numbers are sustainable for Trumbo over a full season. If Trumbo had the same HR/AB rate in his lesser three months as he did in his binge months he would have had about 44 home runs for the season. I would say it is safe to project another 30 or so homers from Trumbo in 2013, at the very least, with the potential to sock 40. I am going to predict a number in the middle of those and say that Trumbo will out up 35 home runs in 2013 with 65-70 runs and 95-100 RBIs. Am I predicting a bit high? Well in the home run department, maybe a tad, but I don’t think 35 dongs is completely out of the question for Trumbo. With batting average you may see some hot weeks strung together, but I would not expect anything over .270. You can still expect an OPS over .800 for Trumbo, but this will be mostly driven by his slugging percentage as he has a very low walk rate. So in 5 x 5 leagues the average is a minor detractor, but nevertheless the 2012 late season slump could make Trumbo a mild sleeper in many drafts.
Rotochamp has Trumbo ranked 123 overall, which would mean he would be going around the 12-13th round in 12 team leagues. With an outside shot at 40 homers and 100 RBIs, that would be a nice pickup that late, sure. The problem is Trumbo’s average draft position in Yahoo! leagues is 99.8 and in ESPN leagues it is 84.8, so no one is really buying a ranking of around 123. Realistically, I would say go ahead and grab Trumbo around the 85th pick or so and bet on him not having a repeat of 2012′s dismal finish. It’s okay, you can thank me when you are polishing your fantasy league trophy come October.