Mark Trumbo’s power matched only by his out-making ability

14 Comments

I was watching the Angels-Twins game last night when Minnesota television analyst Bert Blyleven advised Francisco Liriano to “throw the slider to this big donkey.”

Liriano obliged and Mark Trumbo hit the ball approximately 700 feet for a three-run homer.

It was Trumbo’s 21st homer, which ranks eighth in the AL and is very impressive pop from a rookie. On the other hand, Trumbo is old for a rookie at 25 and his power comes with a ghastly .297 on-base percentage and 80/19 K/BB ratio.

Trumbo is on pace to hit 30 homers with an on-base percentage below .300, which is something only 17 hitters in baseball history have accomplished. Actually, only 14 different hitters, since Dave Kingman did it four times. Here’s the list of 30-homer, sub-.300 OBP seasons during the past 20 years:

                  YEAR      OBP     HR
Mike Jacobs       2008     .299     32
Chris Young       2007     .295     32
Tony Batista      2004     .272     32
Jeromy Burnitz    2003     .299     31
Jose Valentin     2004     .287     30

Oddly, no one hit 30 homers with a sub-.300 OBP during the 1990s, but it happened five times in the 2000s and seven times in the 1980s.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.