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Jan 26

Faces in new places: Mark Trumbo is in for a slight fantasy increase with move to the desert

Thanks for reading our faces in new places series. Leading into the season we’ll be breaking down all of Major League Baseball’s most significant free agent signings and trade results in an effort to explain the impact of new team context on a player’s fantasy production.

Previous Entries: Shin-Soo Choo (TEX); Carlos Beltran (NYY); Masahiro Tanaka (NYY).

 

Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo’s power production should rise in 2014 with the recent move to Arizona. (Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired First Baseman and Outfielder Mark Trumbo during the Winter Meetings. It was part of a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox. Trumbo is the most noticeable and recognizable fantasy asset in the deal. The 28 year-old is working on a new deal himself, and rightfully so considering he only earned 540,000 last year in Hollywood. His fantasy value in 2014 will take a slight jump, not as much as his raise in pay, but enough to catch our eye. 

Trumbo brings a lot of power to the desert. His production has been on the rise through each of his three seasons and he’s coming off career-highs in home runs (34), RBI (100) and runs scored (84). Trumbo blasted 66 homers and drove in 195 runs over the past two seasons. In fact, Trumbo is one of only four players to hit at least 29 home runs in each of the last three seasons. His 95 total jacks over that span are tied for fifth in the major leagues.

There were seven players who had 30 doubles, 20 home runs and 100 RBI last season. The Diamondbacks now have two of those players in Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt. Those two combined to hit 70 home runs, 225 RBI and 613 total bases in 2013. The Diamondbacks have added true protection for Goldschmidt in their lineup as the two should provide a ton of runs in 2014.

With that said, Trumbo still has contact issues. Last year’s slash line of .234/.292/.435 is far from sexy. His 184 strikeouts last year and 54 walks are ugly too. Trumbo has struck out at least 30 more times in each of the last two seasons dating back to his rookie season in 2011. He has a career 14.3% IFFB and is known to chase a few bad pitches out of the zone from time to time. His career 16.4% line drive rate is nothing to brag about either. You are not drafting Trumbo for his .250 career batting average and .299 on-base percentage, or his average of six steals a season.

 

 Mark Trumbo: 2014 Outlook

You are drafting Trumbo because he is the closest thing to a 40 home run and 100 plus RBI season as anybody out there. Don’t expect the average or the OBP to rise, sure it might a bit, but with the trade he should be able to come close to becoming a 40-40 man with homers and doubles. Chase Field is one of the more slugger-friendly ballparks in the bigs, certainly more so than Angel Stadium.

Here is a look at how Chase Field and Angel Stadium stack up against each other in Park Factor HR value over the last four seasons according to ESPN HR Factors.

 

Ballpark 2010 2011 2012 2013
Angel Stadium .825 (23) .789 (25) .759 (25) .902 (20)
Chase Field 1.063 (12) 1.095 (10) 1.192 (6) .949 (16)

Chase Field has proven over the years to be more of a hitter-friendly ballpark compared to Angel Staduim. Add that to the fact that Trumbo is slated to play 10 games at Coors Field where he could easily hit a home run a game. It’s not unreasonable to think that he could hit 40 in 2014.

Trumbo is expected to play in left field because Goldschmidt has first on lockdown. Trumbo has 136 games of experience playing in the outfield and 75 in left so adjusting shouldn’t be an issue. Trumbo is also durable having missed only 35 games in the last three seasons and he was only the DH 17 times last year so fatigue should’t be a factor.

If you can put up with the poor average (which should improve), lack of speed and low on-base percentage to go along with the strikeouts, then Trumbo is your guy. Of course, keep in mind that over the past two seasons he’s posted strikeout rates of 26.1% and 27.1% and there could be an adjustment period switching from the American League to the National League.

Home runs are hard to come by. Trumbo can provide pop to your fantasy baseball lineup, but at what cost? He should be taken in the mid-rounds. Our consensus rankings have him at 30 among outfields and outside the top to at first. His value increases a tad, but not by much.

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