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Fantasy Baseball Today

Mark Trumbo primed to power Fantasy teams in second half

By R.J. White | CBSSports.com

Mark Trumbo is close to returning to Fantasy lineups. (USATSI)
Mark Trumbo is close to returning to Fantasy lineups. (USATSI)

The Diamondbacks are close to getting outfielder Mark Trumbo back in the fold. So are Fantasy owners. If you don't own Trumbo, a relative buy-low window is starting to close.

Trumbo was a popular breakout candidate this preseason after coming over from the AL in a trade with the Angels. His massive power was expected to see an upswing with the move to a much more positive home park for home run hitters. For the first few weeks of the season, that expectation was fulfilled, and Trumbo delivered seven home runs in 87 at-bats over 21 games, putting himself on a pace to approach and maybe surpass the 50-homer mark.

Then injury struck. Trumbo suffered a stress fracture in his foot, putting him on the shelf for two-and-a-half months and counting. The team took his recovery slowly, hoping to limit the chance he would suffer a setback or have the injury linger upon his return. That tactic appears to have worked out beautifully, as Trumbo is tearing up a rehab assignment, combining to go 10 for 21 with four home runs in six games with the organization's rookie-league and Triple-A affiliates.

With Trumbo's power swing intact, he's set to rejoin the Diamondbacks within the coming days, likely right after the All-Star break, and continue to smash home runs at an elite pace. However, his current Fantasy owners may underestimate his impact upon lineups in the second half.

Trumbo hit just .210 in his first stint with the Diamondbacks before suffering his injury, and he posted a .234 batting average with the Angels last season. Taking those two marks in tandem, it's easy to estimate his impact will be equivalent to low-average, high-power hitters like Chris Carter, Chris Davis, Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard, Mark Reynolds and others. However, I believe he has a much better second half on the way than the numbers those players put up in the first half.

Trumbo delivered an unbelievably low .192 BABIP before his injury. If the outfielder had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title, that number would be 32 points lower than the one posted by the worst performer in the category (Carter, .224). Trumbo's BABIP is going to regress to the mean, and he delivered marks of .274, .316 and .273 in his three full seasons with the Angels. If balls start to drop at their regular rate, Trumbo will go from hitting .210 to posting a batting average of .250 or better in the second half. That certainly doesn't make him an elite Fantasy weapon, but it does stick him in the range of David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes, players who hurt Fantasy batting averages a little while giving a substantial boost to power and RBI numbers.

Trumbo is in line to have that kind of impact in the second half. His 33 percent homer-per-flyball rate will regress some, but it won't completely tank without terrible luck, considering his advantageous home park. I see him hitting around .265 with 15 to 20 home runs if he stays healthy, with the potential to do even better if he gets a little lucky on batted balls in play or finds a power groove like the one he's displayed on his rehab assignment.

I flipped Casey Janssen for Trumbo in a head-to-head points league with weekly lineups in which I have solid depth to cover my three RP slots but could use a high-upside outfielder in case a few surprise breakouts start to cool off. If you need a boost in home runs and RBI as you make a run towards a title, don't be scared off by Trumbo's low batting average or months-long stay on the disabled list. He could swing the standings in your league over the second half.

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