Fantasy Baseball: Mark Trumbo Is Off to a Frightening Start
Mark Trumbo stole two bases all of last season, and he already has one steal through 19 games this year.
That concludes the portion of this article in which we say nice things about the way Trumbo has started the 2017 campaign.
After a putting it all together in a 47-homer performance a year ago, setting career-best marks basically across the board, Trumbo was always a safe bet to regress a bit this season. But this? Whew -- it's been bad.
The market -- both in real life and fantasy -- wasn't too hyped about Trumbo. Despite the 47 taters, he had an average draft position of 70th overall, per data from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. A guy three homers shy of 50 who was returning to basically the same situation -- good lineup and a hitter-friendly home park -- couldn't crack the top 50 overall players? Well, we're not even a month in, and it's already looking like his ADP was way too high.
Trumbo owns a .203/.244/.284 line through 78 plate appearances, posting a .081 ISO and 44 wRC+. His batted-ball numbers are the truly horrifying thing as he's sporting a 22.2% hard-hit rate, 38.9% fly-ball rate and 23.8% infield-fly-ball rate.
That's not exactly a recipe for power, and those marks pale in comparison to what Trumbo did a season ago.
|Year||wOBA||ISO||wRC+||Hard-Hit Rate||Fly-Ball Rate|
Surely, Trumbo's power numbers won't stay this low all year, but there aren't many signs of a big uptick in production.
His BABIP isn't to blame as it's nearly identical to what it was in 2016. In addition to everything above, his walk rate is down 2.5% (7.6% to 5.1%), and his dog probably died (hopefully not).
Are there any positives? Eh, a few. His strikeout rate (25.6%) is in line with his career average (25.0%) while his home-run-per-fly-ball clip of 4.8% is unlucky, even with his putrid batted-ball marks. And the steals -- don't forget about those swipes.
But jokes aside, things don't look good.
Trumbo turned himself into a 47-dong guy by hitting more balls harder than he ever had while hitting more fly balls than he ever had. That was good. Now, he's got a career-low hard-hit rate paired with career worsts in fly-ball rate and infield-fly-ball rate. That's the opposite of good.
Sure, it's early, but fly-ball rate starts to stabilize around 80 balls in play, according to FanGraphs, and Trumbo is already at 94 balls in play. The struggle bus is on the turnpike, and the next exit is a long ways away.
Our models project him to hit 31 homers the rest of the season, which Trumbo owners would jump at right this second, but other projection models aren't as optimistic -- with Steamer (.254/.312/.477 with 26 jacks) and ZiPS (.247/.300/.472 and 27 bombs) each forecasting him for less rest-of-season production.
You probably won't be able to find another owner still dreaming on Trumbo's 40-homer upside -- if you can, offer that dude a deal 15 minutes ago and pray for him -- but if you can get another top-100 player for the Baltimore Orioles' struggling slugger, now may be the time to pull the trigger before his value completely craters.