Trumbo a streaky hitter?


Yesterday, Mike Ferrin from MLB Radio Network’s Power Alley spent a few minutes as a guest on The Steve Sandmeyer Show on 1090 The Fan to discuss the Seattle Mariners’ offensive woes with Steve Sandmeyer and Jason A. Churchill. During the conversation, the Power Alley host shared a few interesting comments about the newly-acquired Mark Trumbo.

When Churchill asked Ferrin about Trumbo’s early struggles in Seattle, Ferrin referred to the 29-year-old slugger as a “really streaky guy.” After hearing Ferrin’s take on the Mariners’ newest acquisition, I decided to take a deeper look at the slugger’s career stats. It’s not that I didn’t believe the Sandmeyer show’s weekly guest – quite the opposite. Ferrin’s cut on Trumbo provides a path to better understanding the slugger and should help establish realistic expectations among the team’s fan base.

When I first heard the phrase “really streaky guy,” I envisioned a hitter who went without a hit for an extended period time on numerous occasions and and that’s not really the case with Trumbo. I was surprised to discover that he’s gone hit-less for more than four consecutive games only once during his major league career – he went without a hit during a seven-game stretch in September 2013.

Even during his markedly slow 16-game start in Seattle, Trumbo has registered a hit during seven of nine games. Unfortunately for the veteran slugger and the team, his overall numbers since arriving in the Emerald City have been underwhelming – he’s 10-59 with one home run for a .169 batting average. So, what should Mariners fans expect from their new right-handed bat in the future?

First and foremost, the former Diamondback and Angel is a slugger who has averaged a home run every 19.1 at-bats – he’s currently maintaining a 23.3 per at-bat rate for 2015. He’s not “streaky” hitter as I initially thought, but the slugger does experience peaks and valleys in the power department as alluded to by Ferrin. Since his first full season in 2011, Trumbo has gone 10-or-more games without a home run on 14 different occasions. His longest home run drought during his previous four seasons has varied between 12 and 18 games, except for his injury-marred 2014 when he went 32 games without going deep. His longest power output for this season was 15 games, which included his first 13 games in Seattle.

Although Trumbo will normally avoid the long base-hit drought, he’s a frequent strikeout victim who doesn’t walk often. Since 2011, he’s struck-out nearly 25-percent of his plate appearances, while only walking six-percent of the time. In 2015, he has only one more walk (11) than home runs. To put this into perspective, two struggling Mariners – Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley – have twice as many walks as home runs. This explains Trumbo’s career .295 on-base percentage, which is well below the typical league-average of .315.

Certainly, Trumbo’s slow start with the weak-hitting Mariners is a disappointment for all involved. But, I suspect that that right-handed hitter will get on-track very soon and will provide the power that General Manager Jack Zduriencik was searching for when he acquired Trumbo earlier this month. But, his power production will be “really streaky” as Ferrin suggested.

 

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