Mark Trumbo followed the path first blazed by Nelson Cruz in Baltimore: pull the baseball often and enjoy the spoils of Camden Yards. He more than doubled his home run total from 2015 while setting a career high in homers, runs and RBI. It helped that one of every four flyballs he hit left the yard and that he had a 43 percent flyball rate - both of which were also career bests. That was the source of the statistical improvement in 2016 as everything else was mostly in line with his traditional rates. Even during a rather amazing statistical year, Trumbo's batting average was still just .256. In a thin market, his power awarded him a nice payday to come back to Baltimore, but even though he appears to be locked in as the main DH for the Orioles, some regression should be expected from Trumbo.
Trumbo admitted to feeling frustrated with his spring performance, but he's confident that a minor adjustment will get him "rolling," Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. Trumbo, who signed a three-year deal this offseason to remain in Baltimore, is hitting a measly .162 (6-for-37) with just one extra-base hit (a double back on March 5). "The results haven't been there," Trumbo said. "I've been through things like this more times than I can count in my career, and it's something that will improve." Expecting the slugger to repeat last season's performance -- one in which he led MLB with 47 homers -- is a bit bullish, but owners shouldn't worry about a savvy veteran like Trumbo based on unimpressive spring stats.
Trumbo is hitless in eight at-bats this spring and has two strikeouts. Last season's home run champion has appeared in three Grapefruit League games and has reached base just once (via walk). It's awfully early in spring to be concerned, but with the consensus projecting a regression from Trumbo in 2017, it sure would be encouraging for owners to see the slugger round into shape sooner rather than later.
Trumbo will see the bulk of his at-bats at designated hitter in 2017, Buster Onley reports. With newly-acquired Seth Smith to man right field routinely, Trumbo will have to change his mindset heading into 2017. Last season, nearly 60 percent of the home run champ's at-bats came while he was penciled in on defense, and that number will be even larger in his upcoming campaign. Some would argue that playing the field distracts hitters from thinking too much about their next at-bat, while others would suggest taking hacks in the tunnel while your team is on defense is more beneficial. The former seems to hold more truth for Trumbo, who's three-year splits show a noticeable decline in production when he's not playing the field. Smith has struggled throughout his career against lefties, so Trumbo may wind up in the outfield more than the team's preseason plans suggest. He's also slated to see a slight uptick in time at first base.
Trumbo is expected to play more first base in 2017 in an effort to keep Chris Davis fresh, the Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck reports. Trumbo played just six games at first in 2016, but played over 100 games at the position for the Angels in 2011 and 2013. The 31-year-old enjoyed the best offensive season of his career in 2016, slashing .256/.316/.533 while adding 47 home runs and 108 RBI. While he may play more first base in 2017, he's expected to spend most of 2017 as the Orioles' primary DH.
Trumbo agreed to a three-year deal, pending a physical, with the Orioles on Thursday, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Per Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, the deal is expected to be worth $35-40 million. Trumbo had one of the best showings of his career in 2016 as he knocked 47 home runs and recorded 108 RBI. Although the deal is contingent upon Trumbo passing a physical, the slugger will look to bring his powerful bat back to the Baltimore lineup and split time between right field and the DH spot in 2017.