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Saturday, March 22, 2014

GIF: Mark Trumbo in left field is going about as well as expected

Joe Bonham had better range.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are opening the 2014 regular season in Australia on Saturday, which means Mark Trumbo is playing his first game with his new team. Arizona acquired him in a trade with the Angels over the winter.

Because Paul Goldschmidt is entrenched at first base, Trumbo will play left field full-time for the D-Backs. He played there briefly a few years ago, only 75 games plus one more in the minors. His inexperience showed on Scott Van Slyke’s second inning double:

...Missed it by that much. To make things worse, Trumbo grounded out to end the first inning with two men on base. Not the best first impression.

Repoz Posted: March 22, 2014 at 10:40 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks

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   1. kirkhead Posted: March 22, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4675317)
"Mark Trumbo in left field? That will probably go over like a lead balloon!" --Keith Moon

   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4675330)
That GIF is awesome.

Highly recommended.
   3. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4675335)
Field F/x Route Efficiency = ???
   4. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4675340)
Must have been something weird about the ball's trajectory. The fan in the white shirt on the right in the gif is pointing about where Trumbo seems to think the ball is going. Of course, Trumbo should know better than some random Australian dude.
   5. Sunday silence Posted: March 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4675344)
it looks like instead of tracking the ball he simply heads straight back to where he thinks it will be then he jumps way too early. Playing in a foreign ballpark of course must make it really hard.
   6. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: March 22, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4675354)
The only thing funnier than Trumbo's effort to track the ball was the absolutely horrible Matt Vasgersian screaming "GONE" at the top of his lungs before the ball even hit the wall.
   7. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 22, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4675359)
it looks like instead of tracking the ball he simply heads straight back to where he thinks it will be then he jumps way too early. Playing in a foreign ballpark of course must make it really hard.


That's pretty generous. He's a bad outfielder. That's the explanation.

#3 is amazing, too. Well played PRD.
   8. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 22, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4675362)
And because he didn't touch the ball, it's not an error! That scoring convention makes perfect sense!
   9. Dale Sams Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4675392)
The only thing funnier than Trumbo's effort to track the ball was the absolutely horrible Matt Vasgersian screaming "GONE" at the top of his lungs before the ball even hit the wall.


Did it hit a kiwi or something. Yes I know, kiwis can't fly.
   10. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4675401)
Well, it's not like Adam Eaton would have caught that ball.

Oh, yea, he would have, unless he was in CF so Parra can catch it.

Well it's not like the DBacks have room for another starter in Skaggs.

Oh, yea, they do.

Well it's not like 6 years of cheap control of young center fielders and starting pitchers mean much to a moneybags organisation like the DBacks, who are so flush with cash they can afford to give those guys up to pay $5m for the first of three years of escalatingly expensive control years to have Trumbo play "defense" in left field.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4675403)
That's pretty generous. He's a bad outfielder. That's the explanation.


Not disputing that but who was the outfielder last year in the White Sox game who jumped on the wall like it was a home run then came down and caught it? Everyone misjudges fly balls. That Trumbo, an inexperienced left fielder playing in a ballpark he has never played in before did it is hardly surprising nor is it proof of his crumminess (of which there will be plenty as the year goes on).
   12. purrington Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4675405)
Both Vin Scully and Steve Berthiaume from Diamondbacks TV also called it as a homerun and Van Slyke high-fived Davey Lopes as he was rounding first, so Vasgersian wasn't alone in getting it wrong. I imagine they were all confused because Trumbo played it as he did, but from the recaps I read it seems the wind really knocked the ball down.
   13. BDC Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4675409)
I imagine they were all confused because Trumbo played it as he did

Or because they were unclear on whether it was going for four or for six.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4675411)

the Aussie TV guy on the pregame said the wind was blowing out quite a bit a few days ago, but it flipped around for this game. they showed the flags, and the wind was blowing hard. Could have happened to a lot of LFs, I think.

   15. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 22, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4675414)
Could have happened to a lot of LFs, I think.


Maybe, though I think a lot of LFs would have recognized that the wind was going to affect fly balls and kept a better eye on it.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: March 22, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4675433)
Ball spins around the opposite way in this hemisphere.

I thought it was gone when it left the bat.

And it was a low-five.

And there are no kiwis in Australia -- plenty of Kiwis though.

   17. booond Posted: March 22, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4675434)
Converting meters into feet is hard.
   18. Srul Itza Posted: March 22, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4675437)
I imagine they were all confused because Trumbo played it as he did


One of the things you often used to hear is, to see where a ball is going, watch how the outfielders react.

   19. alilisd Posted: March 22, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4675522)
Understandable if he thought it was hit harder than it was, but the ball lands 15 or more feet towards CF from where he was. That's a bad read, and I don't think that has anything to do with being unfamiliar with the park. If he had misplayed a carom off the wall, that could be attributed to an unfamiliar park. He just couldn't figure out which way the ball was headed. Should be entertaining watching him this year.
   20. Greg K Posted: March 22, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4675543)
It was quite a windy game, Owings had all sorts of trouble with a pop up. Though Trumbo didn't do a whole lot to dissuade anyone from thinking he's a bad outfielder.

Well I suppose he did throw out Kershaw at second. But that was probably more a mistake by Kershaw than anything else.
   21. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: March 22, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4675555)
One of the things you often used to hear is, to see where a ball is going,


you have to look at the ball. If you watch, Trumbo never even looks for the ball until after he runs to the fence and climbs up. Only then does he look to see where the ball was. If he watches the ball, he might catch it.
   22. Rob_Wood Posted: March 23, 2014 at 04:39 AM (#4675598)

yes, but what fun would that be?
   23. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 23, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4675609)
I would have caught that ball.
   24. Dan Posted: March 23, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4675708)
Trumbo will play left field full-time for the D-Backs. He played there briefly a few years ago, only 75 games plus one more in the minors. His inexperience showed on Scott Van Slyke’s second inning double:


I don't think it's really quite so much about inexperience. This also undersells his OF experience since he has 65 more games in RF. Maybe 130 ML games in COF spots still isn't a TON, but it's enough that he's probably mostly as good as he's going to get out there. He's just not an outfielder. Trading for Trumbo was just an incredibly bizarre move for an NL team with an established star first baseman.
   25. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 23, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4675725)
for an NL team with an established star first baseman.


And for one that just got PAID. edit...granted, it's a great contract for AZ, should he stay healthy. All the more reason Trumbo is useless to them. He only has value if Goldschmidt gets hurt.
   26. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 23, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4675733)
You know, I was mocking pretty hard yesterday, but Trumbo isn't as bad as this makes him out to look. He's passable there and has a decent arm. He'll be tolerable in LF on everything but the really difficult plays or routine plays in bad conditions, which I think sums up the play from Game 1 in Australia.

[EDIT]

But AZ still gave up more than they got in that trade. By a lot.
   27. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 23, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4675806)
His outfield UZR is -7 runs per 150 games over 1010 innings and he's in his prime so he should be able to do that or a little better for a few more years. I think it's navel gazing to argue whether that constitutes terrible or just poor, it's obviously playable.

But I would much rather have Eaton in center, Parra in left or vica-versa, and Skaggs in the back of the rotation, and $4M more to spend this year and significantly more savings next 2-5 years.

Towers inherited a stacked roster and farm system, and has spent many of those assets in very curious ways. For example, his first year they had a very good outfield defense (Parra/Young/Upton), and he's spent his time since downgrading the outfield defense with proven veteran bats with less range, Kubel, Trumbo & even Cody Ross to an extent (22 HR in 130 games for Boston the year Towers signed him, and while a good defender had been declining, nice platoon player but worth $26M?).

Lets look at trends by defensive ranks by league UZR for outfield/team vs. staff ERA+, which is context adjusted results with defense included, and league pitching fWAR rank which is a measure of pitching effectiveness without defense.

Diamondbacks
UZR Ranks 
Pitching Ranks
Year  Outfield
/Team ERA+/League fWAR rank
2011 
#1/#1 - 104/13th
2012 #7/18th - 104/8th
2013 #2/#2 - 98/21st 


By UZR they were the best defensive team in 2011 and 2nd best in 2013, and the drop off was almost entirely because the outfield went from +31 to 11, and then +40 in 2013. By pitchers WAR, the DBacks staff was above average in 2011 (credit to KT for fixing bullpen), improved to very good in 2012 but the dropoff in defense kept ERA+ the same, and then pitching WAR fell to well below average in 2013, but ERA+ was held just below average by a major improvement in defense.

Credit for the 2013 recovery is owed to everyone but KT. First to a first round pick by a previous GM, AJ Pollock, a fluke career year from Cody Ross, and Gibby's canniness at finding ways (Prado) to keep Jason Kubel out of left field for all but 480 innings.

So what did Towers do this year? He locks Trumbo in left for probably over 1,000 innings, meaning less playing time for Pollock/Parra/Ross. So all the work Gibby did last year is undone by front office design, and with a staff that might be even be weaker than last years. That's a pretty terrible combination, and for what? A big bat?

Trumbo's OPS+ the last 3 years is 115, he's not Manny bad in left but he's nowhere near Manny good at the plate. And OPS+ probably overstates his offensive value, he's averaged a .300 OBP the last three years, .294 last year! His career wRC+ is 111, roughly average for a MLB starting left fielder.

So KT committed to at least $20M more in spending the next 3 years and gave up two valuable MLB prospects with years of cheap control for a minor upgrade in team offense and bigger downgrade in team defense. I will bet that both Eaton & Skaggs alone are more valuable than Trumbo the next 3 years, without factoring in the extra $20M, or the value of their arbitration years past that. Obviously KT also picked up a good reliever in the deal, but I'm thinking that somehow one could have been found if oh, you had $20M extra to spend the next 3 years?

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