The past four years
The Diamondbacks avoided arbitration with Mark Trumbo this year after the three team trade with the Angels and the White Sox, inking the left fielder to a one-year $4.8 million contract (a significant raise to his 2013 salary of $540,000). The trade for Trumbo was widely regarded as a good one, as the D-backs added a power bat to help Paul Goldschmidt carry the load driving in runs heading forward. For a good chunk of the 2013 season, it seemed as if Goldschmidt was literally carrying the team on his back and doing all of the dirty work himself. Aside from Goldy, Arizona had no one hit more than 14 homers in 2013, and the closest RBI producer was Martin Prado with 82 to his 125. Jason Kubel was the starting left fielder to begin the 2013 season. If you look at it as a straight swap of last season's numbers for both, Trumbo is a major upgrade.
Trumbo's power numbers have consistently gotten better over the three full years he's played in the majors and the addition of his bat to the Arizona lineup will undoubtedly benefit them. While his slugging percentage has remained fairly consistent, his RBIs and HR totals have increased each year. As it stands right now, the D-backs acquired a hitter on the upswing who's in the prime of his career.
Aside from his defense in the outfield (we will get to that in a moment) perhaps the biggest knock on Trumbo is his ability, or lack there of, to get on base consistently. His 2013 on-base percentage finished at a measly .294 -- the league average is somewhere around .320-.330 -- and he walked in just eight percent of his at-bats. Those numbers paired with the high strikeout rate (%27.1), reflects largely on Trumbo's approach at the plate; he's going to take his fair share of hacks.
Trumbo played 123 games at first base and just 27 in the outfield in 2013. He spent more of 2012 in the outfield, but a majority of his career has been in the infield. Knowing that, there's going to be a little bit of an adjustment to make heading into this season as he prepares to be the full-time left fielder for the D-backs. I know most of you have already seen this gif of Trumbo's blunder in left field in the 2014 season opener, but it's a fresh reminder of what may come for the rest of the season.
Yikes. I will say one thing that may make up for the lack Trumbo's outfield skills is his throwing arm. There was a situation in the second game where he threw a strike to the cutoff man who in turn threw out a greedy Yasiel Puig trying to nab second base on a single. It's not everything, but it will help in situations, just look at how Kubel's arm made up for his own lack of speed in left.
Taking the first two games of 2014 into consideration, Trumbo will hit in the fifth spot behind Martin Prado. It feels like a good spot for him, seeing as he was one of the only players to drive in runs against the Dodgers in Sydney. The two losses would've felt much worse had Trumbo not delivered that towering ninth inning home run off Los Angeles' closer Kenley Jansen.
That home run actually brings me to the next interesting stat. Trumbo was ranked in the top 10 along with Paul Goldschmidt in the ratio of home runs of their total fly balls with a 20.9 percentage rate. What that stat tells you is the amount of sustainable power a player possesses.
Trumbo's play will impact both the Arizona offense and defense. If he can improve in the on-base percentage and cut down on the strikeouts, Trumbo could easily be an All-Star. The defense will be a work in progress, but the hope is that his offense will outweigh the negatives of his fielding. And I think they will.