Mark Trumbo: The 30 Home run hitter is now a commodity

Thearon W. Henderson

After seeing Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers trade for Mark Trumbo, I wondered why he gave up a young starting pitcher and young center fielder for him. Now I know.

Last week, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers traded starter Tyler Skaggs and outfielder Adam Eaton in a three team deal that landed him power hitting outfielder Mark Trumbo. Towers was panned by most every baseball writer out there, and I have to say, I agree with them. He gave up a lot for a power hitter who doesn't get on base much.

Here is what Trumbo has accomplished in his three full seasons in the major leagues, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:

Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2010 24 8 15 2 1 0 0 0 2 1 8 .067 .125 .067 .192 -45
2011 25 149 539 65 137 31 1 29 87 25 120 .254 .291 .477 .768 114
2012 26 144 544 66 146 19 3 32 95 36 153 .268 .317 .491 .808 124
2013 27 159 620 85 145 30 2 34 100 54 184 .234 .294 .453 .747 109
4 Yrs 460 1718 218 429 80 6 95 284 116 465 .250 .299 .469 .768 114
162 Game Avg. 162 605 77 151 28 2 33 100 41 164 .250 .299 .469 .768 114
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/21/2013.

He hits for lots of power and drives in runs. Something the Diamondbacks haven't had much of lately, with the exception of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. They traded away Justin Upton last offseason, but Upton seems to have a problem driving in runs for a middle of the order hitter. Trumbo does not.

In his three full seasons, Trumbo is tied for fifth among all qualified hitters with 95 home runs. He is tied with Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion with 95 home runs, behind only Jay Bruce, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera, all players who get much more love than Trumbo in fantasy drafts.

Over the same three year period, Trumbo has driven in 282 runs, good for 11th amongst all qualified hitters. Here is the list of players who have driven in more runs than Trumbo over the last three seasons:

Miguel Cabrera

Prince Fielder

Adrian Gonzalez

Robinson Cano

Jay Bruce

Josh Hamilton

Hunter Pence

Adrian Beltre

Alfonso Soriano

Billy Butler

Here is another startling stat: the number of 30 home run hitters is shrinking. Below is the number of 30 home run hitters in each of the last ten seasons:

2004: 37

2005: 26

2006: 34

2007: 25

2008: 28

2009: 30

2010: 18

2011: 23

2012: 26

2013: 14

That's a steep drop in 2013 and I am curious how this plays out in 2014. I could see the number increasing a bit, but the 30 home run hitter is becoming more and more of a commodity in major league baseball, and Towers wants to corner the market on them, it seems.

Consider this: over the five year period 2004-2008, we saw an average of 30 hitters with 30 home runs. Over the next five years, 2009-2013, the average dropped to 22. That's quite a drop from one five year period to the next.

With Goldschmidt and Trumbo in the middle of the Diamondbacks lineup, Towers now has two guys who can hit 30+ home runs and drive in 90+ runs. The problem with Trumbo though, he rarely gets on base, and his strikeout rate is bumping up. Trumbo's career OBP is under .300, which is pretty terrible, and below league average. Lucky for him he is above league average in power. But over his three year career, he appears to be trading power for strikeouts. While his home run totals have increased in each of the past two seasons, his strikeout totals have increased almost 50% over the same time period.

Heading into 2014, I see Trumbo doing more of the same, hitting for power, driving in runs, striking out a lot and not walking. I can see him approaching 35-37 home runs hitting at Chase Field in 2014.

Let's hear your thoughts on Trumbo moving to Arizona in 2014 in the comment section below.

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