Mark Trumbo Should Be in the MVP Conversation

The first-year Baltimore Oriole is having a career season and putting the team on his back.

It is not a big surprise that the Baltimore Orioles sit a top the American League East or that they are paced by a hard swinging power hitter.

What is a bit of a shock is that hitter is not Chris Davis or Manny Machado, but rather the first year Oriole, Mark Trumbo. The newest Baltimore basher has already jumped to fourth in our nERD MLB player rankings.

Currently in his seventh year in the Majors, the 30-year-old Trumbo has found his new home to be to his liking. Baltimore’s bopper currently leads the big leagues in home runs with 20 and has produced several huge nights at the plate.

Trumbo's Big League Career

Throughout his entire career, Trumbo has always been considered a plus power hitter as evidenced by his 95 home runs in his first three full seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. In each of those three seasons he had an isolated power (ISO) of over .219, which puts him in the elite tier of power hitters.

Despite those numbers, he was dealt in a big deal to the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2013 season where he was expected to put up big numbers behind Paul Goldschmidt. Despite the protection of Goldschmidt and a park boost in Arizona, Trumbo struggled with an ISO of .180, a wOBA of .308, and a wRC+ of 91 in 2014, all career lows for him.

The 2015 season was nearly as big of a disaster, which was split between Arizona and Seattle, although Trumbo was able to raise his production at nearly every statistical category. Although he did have a solid tenure in Seattle, the Mariners did not see fit to bring him back which opened the door for the Orioles.

Trumbo in Baltimore

Trumbo has fit in seamlessly with his new team, posting an otherworldly ISO of .321 and wRC+ of 160, which has helped him into the top five in the AL for home runs and RBI.

The only concerning number for the team going forward is likely to be his BABIP of .336, which is over 40 points better than his career average of .293. Some will worry about his 26.4% strikeout rate this season, but that is right on par with career numbers and nothing out of the ordinary for a power hitter in today’s game.

The BABIP jump does seem explainable when you look at the exit velocity of his balls in play this season.

Perhaps the best visualization of Trumbo’s improvement at the plate can be seen in his spray chart below via FanGraphs. He has managed to use the entire park for both line drives and home runs, which is a big factor is a smaller field such as Camden Yards.

Mark Trumbo Batted Balls

Defensive Issues

The only drawback to Trumbo’s game is his poor defensive stats, as he currently has a -1.8 Ultimate Zone Rating rating in the outfield. However, that number has improved from previous seasons and has been helped with Adam Jones covering him in centerfield.

Trumbo's defensive struggles have led to an fWAR of 2.1, tied for 28th in the Majors, despite his elite offense.

Future in Baltimore

As we approach the midway point of the season, it is becoming more clear that Trumbo has enjoyed his new surroundings, and also that the Orioles may regret only giving the slugger only a one-year deal with the team. He's been one of the most impactful players in the Majors this season for a playoff hopeful team.

If Trumbo continues at this torrid pace, he may very well take the Nelson Cruz approach and fly out of Baltimore as fast as he came in, but Orioles fans can worry about that another day.

For now enjoy the home runs!