The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of Earth and their fans received bad news earlier this spring when it was revealed their slugging first baseman Kendrys Morales was going to need more time to recover from a broken leg suffered last season. The loss of Morales was a big hit to the Angels offense but from tragedy grew opportunity as Mark Trumbo made it known he was ready to fill in. A monster spring that included a team leading 6 HR and 20 RBI gave many Angels fans Trumboners. The 25 year old first baseman has earned the right to call first base his until Morales is ready to return. What can fantasy owners make of this surprising spring breakout star and can he stick in Anaheim after Morales makes his 2011 debut?
More on Trumbo after the jump...
The Anaheim native earned an extended look in spring training this year by smashing 36 HR in 2010 to go with a minor league leading 122 RBI. According to Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster those numbers translated into a major league equivalent 25 HR and 82 RBI. This shows Trumbo would be an above average power hitter in the majors today. However, it will take more than just hitting the ball out of the park to stick on a major league roster. Trumbo doesn't walk often but showed major improvements in that area last year. He has struggled with strikeouts at times but doesn't go down on strikes an obscene amount and his 18.8% K-rate at AA in 2009 was quite good for a young slugger. If he can keep that number below 25% in the majors he should reach base enough to justify keeping his power in the lineup
There should also be a caution attached to his power as his best years can at Salt Lake City and Rancho Cucamonga, two notorious home run friendly cities to play baseball. During his time at other less favorable stops he had so-so power. Brandon Wood is a similar case, however, Trumbo has much better contact ability so he's unlikely to be as big of a bust.
Unfortunately for Trumbo he isn't a defensive whiz and his manager is Mike Scioscia. Despite his strong spring there is talk that Howie Kendrick will see time at first as well. The Angels are desperate to make the postseason and they can't afford to have a defensive liability on the field. With an aging outfield Trumbo may see some ABs at DH as well which would be a good idea as young sluggers need regular at bats in order to get in a groove and show what they are capable of. If Scioscia is going to give Trumbo casual playing time there is a very good chance he will struggle and they would be better off sending him back to Salt Lake City so he can work on improving his glove and plate discipline.
Fantasy owners shouldn't get their hopes too high for Trumbo as he may only play 3-4 games a week and if he struggles with strikeouts he will be a drain on batting average. As a rookie on a Scioscia squad he is going to bat lower in the order further limiting his appeal. It might be exciting to insert the hot shot rookie into your lineup but the amount of risk attached to him makes it an idea I can't get behind. He should have a future as a good major league slugger and a fantasy mainstay but that time is still a few years away. If he shows an ability to avoid the strikeout and Mike Scioscia shows faith in him he could stick with the big club and by the end of the year he could be an advisable option.