Here’s how bad Mark Trumbo’s defense has been at third base: He’s hitting .375 with a 1.224 OPS so far this season and yet the Angels have left him on the bench for the past two games.
That they have a logjam at first base, designated hitter, and the corner outfield spots is nothing new and led to trade speculation all offseason, but the plan of lessening that logjam by using Trumbo regularly at third base appears to be a no-go.
Trumbo has played just three games there so far, making three errors and looking just as rough around the edges as nearly everyone predicted. To his credit Trumbo is saying all the right things about understanding the lack of playing time and continuing to work hard defensively to show manager Mike Scioscia that he can capably play the position, but some things are simply beyond the scope of hard work and determination.
Last year Trumbo appeared in all but 13 games for the Angels, but he’s already missed five games and has a grand total of 19 plate appearances two weeks into the season.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.