Mark Trumbo As The Angels' Secret Weapon

Those aren't my words. They're Ken Rosenthal's, as on Wednesday he wrote about a relatively unknown player who's had a lot of success at the plate in Angels camp. Quote:

Turns out the Angels might have had a secret weapon, an 18th-round draft pick and converted pitcher who suddenly has manager Mike Scioscia scribbling multiple lineups.

The article focuses on 25-year-old first baseman Mark Trumbo and highlights his power that's wowed the likes of Torii Hunter and Mickey Hatcher. But while power is great, Trumbo still comes with some major red flags.

Hunter and Hatcher talk about how hard Trumbo can hit a ball when he squares it up. And indeed, he has tremendous raw power. But raw power isn't as important as power output, and there are reasons to be concerned about Trumbo's approach. Last year in AAA he struck out 126 times to go with just 50 unintentional walks. In a brief big-league trial, he had eight and one. So far in Spring Training, he has 12 strikeouts and one walk. Trumbo's discipline leaves a lot to be desired, and Major League pitchers can take advantage of that.

And beyond the approach, while Trumbo's 2010 statistics in Salt Lake look great, Salt Lake is a notorious launching pad. This is an incomplete list of players who have recently had big offensive years in Salt Lake:

Howie Kendrick
Brandon Wood
Paul McAnulty
Sean Rodriguez
Chris Pettit
Terry Evans
Matthew Brown
Freddy Sandoval
Dallas McPherson
Reggie Willits
Nick Gorneault
Curtis Pride
Adam Riggs

And so on and so forth. I don't mean to suggest that Trumbo is guaranteed to bust, but he went from a .785 OPS in AA in 2009 to a .945 OPS in AAA in 2010. His numbers in AAA have to be taken with a grain of [sigh] salt, because that ballpark has led us wrong before.

Mark Trumbo could turn into a special player. He may be a special player right now. I just wouldn't put a lot of money on it, and if he's supposed to be the Angels' secret weapon this year, then as a fan of a division rival, I'm feeling better about our chances.

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