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Entries in Mark Trumbo (6)


HR Derby Tidbits: AL Edition

Team Cano (Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Mark Trumbo) takes on Team Kemp (Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen) tonight at Kauffman Stadium in the 2012 Home Run Derby (8 PM EST, ESPN). While the Royals' home digs aren't particularly friendly to power hitters during regular games, decreasing homers hits by 27 percent for lefties and 15 percent for righties according to StatCorner, these guys should have little trouble reaching the waterfalls beyond the outfield fences. Here's a closer look at the shots hit by Team Cano in 2012.

Jose Bautista

Home Runs: 27

Bautista is all about the pull power: 22 of his 27 bombs have screamed down the left field line, with just one shot going to the opposite field. That Bautista is the game's pre-eminent pull hitter is remarkable considering how loathe pitchers are to give him something inside. Just 23 percent of the pitches Bautista has seen have been thrown inside, compared to the 28-29 percent MLB average. That means he's hitting pull-side homers on pitches thrown on the outer half:

Pitch location of Bautista's HRs

Bautista has his 16 of his bombs on outer-half pitches this season.  

Robinson Cano

Home Runs: 20

While not quite Bautista-like, Cano has also pulled the vast majority of his homers this season (14 of 20). Ten of those 13 pulled home runs have come at home -- Yankee Stadium's short right field porch is a pull hitter's best friend. Cano has popped an equal number of homers this season against "hard" pitches (fastballs, cutters and sinkers) and "soft" stuff (changeups, curveballs and sliders). He likes the ball below the letters, hitting three-quarters of his homers on pitches thrown low or to the middle of the zone:

Pitch location of Cano's HR

Prince Fielder 

Home Runs: 15

Continuing the pull-happy theme, Fielder has ripped 12 of his 15 home runs into the right field stands. Prince has actually hit the majority of his homers on "soft" pitches, going yard nine times combined against breaking and off-speed stuff. Just over half of his home runs have come on pitches thrown around his considerable belt:

Pitch location of Fielder's HRs

Mark Trumbo

Home Runs: 22

Trumbo has distributed his homers a little differently than the rest of Team Cano, hitting 14 to the pull side, seven to center field and one to the opposite side. If the regular season is any indication, don't look for Trumbo to take many pitches tonight. He's tied with Cano and a few others for the second-most home runs hit on the first pitch this season, with five. Trumbo likes it when pitchers challenge him inside, as 15 of his homers have come on inner-half offerings:

Pitch location of Trumbo's HRs 


Trumbo Showing Better Plate Approach

The L.A. Angels are mired in last place in the American League West and have the worst offensive attack this side of the Minnesota Twins. A big reason why is an overly jumpy lineup: The Angels rank dead last in the A.L. in walks, taking a free pass in just 6.7 percent of their plate appearances. Strangely enough, though, the Angels' lone offensive star so far is a reformed hacker who wasn't even supposed to be a full-time starter in 2012.

Though Mark Trumbo showed plenty of power as a rookie by belting 29 home runs, his lack of patience led to a walk rate of just 4.4 percent and a paltry .291 on-base percentage. That low OBP and the allure of adding one of the game's all-time great hitters led to Trumbo being displaced by Albert Pujols. But, while Pujols has seemingly lost his once-pristine plate approach, Trumbo has made ample progress in working the count.

In 2011, Trumbo hacked at lots of eye-high pitches. Check out his swing rate by pitch location last year, and then the league average:

Trumbo's swing rate by pitch location, 2011

Average swing rate by pitch location, 2011Trumbo chased 41 percent of pitches thrown out of the zone as a rookie, trailing just Vlad Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Olivo and Adam Jones among all qualified MLB hitters. This year, though? He's laying off those elevator pitches:

Trumbo's swing rate by pitch location, 2012

His chase rate has dipped to 31 percent this season, not far from the 28 percent league average. As a result, Trumbo's walk rate has shot up to 9.2 percent. That patience, combined with continued power production (six homers in 98 plate appearances) and some good fortune on balls put in play has led to a 185 OPS+ for Trumbo. The next highest mark on the Angels is Kendrys Morales' 120, and the club sports a collective 93 OPS+.

Trumbo's transition across the diamond to third base didn't take, so he doesn't really have a set position at this point (he has appeared at third, first, both outfield corners and DH). But if he keeps laying off the high stuff and hammering pitches, the Angels will make sure he gets everyday ABs.


Go Low, Not High on Trumbo

While no one will mistake a first baseman sporting  a .296 on-base percentage for a great hitter, the Angels' Mark Trumbo has managed to provide some value at the plate during his rookie season by bashing pitches into the gaps and over the fence. The 25-year-old has 24 home runs and is slugging .484. Combine that power with a pretty good glove, and you have a decent, if flawed starter.

Depending upon where pitchers locate their offerings, Trumbo is either an All-Star or a scrub with the bat. He's chasing -- and killing -- high pitches, while scuffling against stuff thrown at the knees.

The righty hitter is downright giddy against high pitches, extending his strike zone all the way up to his eyes at times:

 Trumbo's swing rate by location on high pitches 

League average swing rate by location on high pitchesTrumbo is chasing 46 percent of high pitches thrown out of the strike zone, which is 20 percentage points higher than the league average. But that hacking has largely paid off, as he's sending many of those pitches into orbit:

           Trumbo's in-play slugging percentage by location vs. high pitches                      

League average in-play slugging percentage by location vs. high pitchesHe's slugging .553 versus the high stuff, besting the league average by nearly 160 points. And his .387 Weighted On-Base Average vs. high pitches is 45 points better than average. Going above the letters against Trumbo is a bad idea.

Trumbo also extends the zone versus low pitches:

Trumbo's swing rate by location vs. low pitches

League average swing rate by location vs. low pitchesHis 35 percent chase rate vs. low stuff is seven percentage points above the league average. That's where the comparison between Trumbo's performance on high and low pitches ends, though. He has been helpless when opponents go low on him:

Trumbo's in-play slugging percentage by location vs. low pitches

League average in-play slugging percentage by location vs. low pitches

Trumbo's slugging just .318 versus low pitches, well below the .338 average. With a .254 wOBA versus low stuff, he's about 40 points below average and ranks in the same territory as Alcides Escobar and Lyle Overbay. Ouch.

Despite his hacking, trying to beat Trumbo high can backfire in a big way. Pitchers should pound the rookie at the knees until he proves that he can also do some damage on low stuff.

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