Thursday, June 21, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 21

Orioles Victory Number 21: 3-0 over the Washington Nationals

1982 Topps Benny Ayala

Hey, hey, hey the Orioles actually stopped a losing streak before it began. Instead of going a week and a half between victories they managed to only go one game between wins. Andrew Cashner returned to throw 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball (start shortened due to rain delay) and the bullpen kept putting up the zeros (even though Brad Brach made it interesting in the ninth).

The offense was provided early, compliments Mark Trumbo doing a very bad thing to a hanging curveball:

The "Trumbo Jumbo" (please never say that again Mike Bordick) was his second in three games and fifth on the year. Since coming off of the disabled list Trumbo has been a relative constant source of offense in the Orioles line-up.

Don't confuse that with him tearing up the league. He is still hitting a rather pedestrian .262 with an OBP of .318 and basically playing replacement level baseball. Yet, on the Orioles that puts him squarely in the top tier of offensive performers.

One thing that seems a little different this year is that he is driving the ball to right-field and right-center with more authority than he has in the past. While the murder he committed on the baseball last night was to left field, two of his other home runs this year were to right field. Last year, only three of his twenty-three bombs were to the opposite field.

He's also hitting a lot of balls hard. According to  his average exit velocity is 92.9 MPH which is well above the league average of 88.8.  A lot of those hard hit balls are going back up the middle or to right field.

Per Fangraphs this is his spray chart so far for 2018 (last night's game not included)

And from 2017:

Despite the much smaller sample size, there is a greater proportion of line drives (red dots) and home runs (black dots) going to right field this season.  Is this a result of a different approach to hitting or just some short term anomaly that will dissipate as the season wears on? Hopefully it's the former. If he is focused on driving the ball back through the middle or to the opposite field it will make him a better hitter. His home runs will still come, he's too strong for them not to.

The more important question is, does this change in hitting philosophy make him enticing to other teams? A club looking to add a little right-handed power to their line-up might be intrigued by Trumbo.  While he is nominally a designated hitter he does have experience in the outfield and first base. He isn't going to win any Gold Gloves in the field, he isn't going to embarrass himself either. That opens up National League teams to the pool of prospective trade partners.

In trading for him, a team does have to factor in his contract. He wouldn't be strictly a rental since he is signed through 2019 at a rather hefty $13.5 million. Still, that's not an unreasonable amount of money for a player that has averaged 32 home runs and 94 RBI throughout his career. The Orioles could also kick in some cash to help offset that price tag and sweeten the return a bit. 

Trumbo alone isn't enough to bring back a top-tier young prospect in a trade, but a team might be willing to part with a mid-tier prospect or two to bring that bat into their line-up to gear up for the stretch run. At this point, the Orioles should be all in on a rebuild with the goal of bringing in as much young talent as possible. Trading Mark Trumbo would accomplish that.

JustinG.'s Current Trade Rankings
(in order of most likely to be traded)

1. Manny Machado
2. Brad Brach
3. Zach Britton
4. Mark Trumbo
5. Darren O'Day
6. Jonathan Schoop
7. Danny Valencia
8. Craig Gentry

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