In the offseason, everyone’s got an opinion. And since nary an official pitch as been thrown, no one can prove your opinion wrong. So A’s fans can talk about how Manny Ramirez is going to “provide some pop,” and Pirates fans can say “this year won’t be our 20th losing season in a row.” However, sports writers and baseball commentators—especially if they have a large following—usually voice skepticism when it comes to the issues we fans are hopeful about. So you don’t have to look very far to find opinions about why Mark Trumbo can’t be a third baseman. He’s too big, his feet are slow, he’s never done it before, it isn’t that easy, etc. It is always a safe bet if you couch your writing with terms like “likely can’t do it” or “won’t do it well.” This way, six months from now, no one will say your sportswriting opinions suck, and you can keep working on your Spink Award.
Well I was thinking about Trumbo’s move to third this morning, and I started remembering articles and opinions written a few years ago about him, including commentary right here on Halos Heaven. You can go through the archives yourself, but the gist of the comments is fairly skeptical. “Trumbo has some pop in his bat, but can’t play defense.” “Projects as a possible part-time DH or late-inning pinch hitter.” During spring training last year, there were plenty of doubts about him even being able to play first base. And how did he do in 2011? He did OK. Looking at just FPCT, it was below average, but still better than the A’s rotating crew and about as good as the guys the Rangers were putting out there.
People have doubted Trumbo’s ability to be a complete major leaguer from the moment he left high school. But along the road from there to here, he picked up an Angels Minor League Player of the Year award, nearly won the ROTY, and put a lot of balls over the bleachers and through the trees. He still has things he needs to work on (e.g. OBP), but if he continues to progress in the batter’s box and ends up being a slightly below average third baseman that will play 1B/DH or corner outfield now and then, I'll be more than happy.
By all accounts, he is an extremely hard worker, and that counts for a lot in my book. There’s plenty on the internet about his work in the weight room. But if you want the single biggest clip that demonstrates the makeup and poise of our young slugger, the fact that he was able to keep a straight face during his workout with Domingo Ayala should be all you need!