Mark Trumbo is staying with the Orioles after all. Now that the slugger is back, what is his fantasy value in 2017?
Well that was anticlimactic. After weeks of speculation and rumors, Mark Trumbo never would up going anywhere. The Orioles played the market well and were able to retain Trumbo for a relatively deal friendly deal after what he was able to do last season. But what should fantasy owners expect from him in 2017?
Trumbo’s performance last season was what scouts and talent evaluators have been waiting for since he entered the league in 2010. Armed with arguably the most raw power from a right handed batter, Trumbo was the most dangerous hitter in the league over the first half of the season. He ended the season with a .256/47 HR/108 RBI/.850 OPS line.
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Fantasy experts are going to scream that he is going to regress and will come crashing to Earth. While the likelihood that he repeats very minimal, that does not mean he has to be avoided like the plague.
Let us first get the negatives out of the way. Trumbo struggled the second half of the season and oddly enough was terrible versus LHP. He posted a .219/19 HR/40 RBI/.284 OPS line over the second part of the season and he ended 2016 with a ghastly .173 AVG/10 HR line versus LHP.
Trumbo is going to strikeout plenty as well, 170 K and a 26% K rate last season, but that comes with the territory when selecting him. There are certainly some red flags. In those leagues that reward only OBP and AVG Trumbo loses some value thanks to his lack of walks. He can offset the ugly AVG numbers in some leagues that reward OPS or SLG but owners need to note the liability he is depending on league format.
But not everything is doom and gloom. His batted ball profile did not change too much but did improve in some areas that helped propel his success. His 43% FB, 42% Pull and 39% Hard contact rate were all career highs.
He basically hit more hard flyballs to the pull side of the field a great mix for his move to the AL East. Playing in Camden Yards helped but he had 25 HR at home and 22 HR on the road so it is great to see his power play all over.
According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, Trumbo averaged 410 ft. per homer, and all but six of his bombs were considered to have “just enough” length. It is no secret that he has tremendous power but there have been extreme power breakouts that are filled by lucky HR, Trumbo is not of those cases.
He is a career .252 hitter versus lefties so the .173 he posted against them last season has nowhere to go but to improve. Trumbo is uber-aggressive at the plate so lefties can exploit him but that AVG is just too low. His AVG will never be above .270 because of the whiffs and his approach at the plate but he has quietly posted back to back seasons of at least a .256 AVG which owners will take with his power production.
From a counting stats perspective Trumbo landing back with Orioles is the best case scenario. With some combo of Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis in front of him, it is easy to see why 80+ R and 90+ RBI are still on the table. This is not to say that he needs to hit 40+ HR again to reach those marks, he simply just needs to maintain something similar to his batted ball profile last season.
Fantasy owners need not bank on 40+ HR again from Trumbo. Yet, he still holds value and should not be pigeon holed as a complete bust. Look for him to end 2017 with a .250/30 HR/95 RBI/85 R/.750 OPS type of line. He should not be targeted in the second round like his performance last season showed, but he still a valuable OF2 or OF3 next season.