Mark Trumbo’s Defense

Mark Trumbo is not known for his defense. The first year Oriole was not traded for because of his impressive abilities in the field. Almost every local media outlet has made that point very apparent.

The sabermetric stats don’t give him any support. The analysts don’t give him a chance. Even Trumbo knows that he has a lot to prove.

“I get it. It’s the perception, and I don’t know. I knows some of the advanced metrics probably don’t shake out that well, either. I can’t worry about that.”

So what would happen if Mark Trumbo sets the record straight and begins to prove those people wrong? Already this spring, he has already made some good plays, well above the ceiling that so many people are setting for him.

The fact of the matter is, you can force stats to say whatever you want, and from that theory, you can say that nothing is different with Trumbo’s career defensive statistics. Last season, Trumbo spent 579 innings playing right for Arizona and Seattle. He had a .982 fielding percentage in that amount of time, committing only two errors. Comparably, Miami Marlin’s RF Giancarlo Stanton, who gets much praise for his defense, played 625 innings and posted a .981 fielding percentage while committing three errors. Houston’s George Springer also receives a lot of credit for his defensive skills. In 968 innings (about two weeks worth more games than Trumbo) Springer posted a .982 fielding percentage and committed three errors.

With sabermetrics breaking down the impact of defensive stats on the outcome of wins and losses, there are some who could, and with much conviction, argue that Stanton and Springer bring more value in the field than Trumbo. But, avoiding all the garble that comes with the sabermetrics package, it seems that Trumbo’s numbers tell a different and more positive tale than the ones we have been hearing regarding the liabilities he brings to the outfield. It will be an interesting experiment watching Trumbo handle himself while playing half of his games in Camden Yards, a very hitter-friendly park with spacious power alleys and a twenty-five foot right field scoreboard to play the ricochets.

Is It J.J. Hardy That The Orioles Are Concerned About?

J.J. Hardy felt the injury bug last year from spring training on. He suffered a shoulder injury that turned out to be a torn labrum through which he dealt with the pain and discomfort all season. He played in only 114 games, the lowest for him in a single season since 2010. He struggled at the plate, batting .219 with a dismal .253 OBP. In perspective, of the 11 seasons Hardy has spent at the major league level, 2015 was only the second of his career in which his OBP dropped below .300.

 

jj hardy actionThe O’s shortstop will turn 34 in August, and while he has a contract through 2017 and an option for 2018, it is not hard to believe that the organization has an eye on Manny Machado to take over at some point sooner rather than later. Machado came through the minors as a shortstop, and while he has played extraordinarily well at the hot corner over the last few years, 2015 was also his defensive low point.

If Hardy underperforms, becomes a liability, or gets hurt, it would not be a stretch for Buck Showalter to give Pedro Alvarez time at third base while sliding Machado over to his natural position at shortstop. Showalter likes to play the hot hands, and having Alvarez on the roster, who has experience playing 3rd, helps the versatility of the team. Of course, nobody hopes this is a scenario that must happen- other than last year, Hardy has done nothing but contribute to the success of the team, and there is no reason to think that he won’t find his groove again this season.

As always, Let’s Go O’s!

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