The Angels have finally called up slugging prospect Mark Trumbo. His power numbers are eye-popping, but there are enough red flags on his resume to make one think he could be a bust. I just can’t decide if this kid is really someone worth getting excited about or not, so I will let Good and Evil argue it out to help me make up my mind.
Is this the face of the future or of another Angel prospect failure in waiting?
Good: I don’t see how anyone could be anything but excited about Mark Trumbo. The Angels have been in dire need of a first baseman since Kendry Morales got hurt and now they have the perfect fill-in for him in the form of Mark Trumbo. We aren’t talking about some sort of flash in the pan prospect here, Trumbo has always displayed excellent power and even went so far as to lead the entire minor leagues in home runs this season. What more could you want?
Evil: Umm, how about a guy who isn’t about to become the next Brandon Wood? Angel fans should know more than anyone that minor league power doesn’t always translate to big league success, especially when those power numbers are being put up in the super-hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and all of its high altitude ballparks.
Good: Brandon Wood is such an unfair comparison, there is a lot more going on there with Wood than there is with Trumbo. But even if he does struggle, what do the Angels really have to lose by giving him a look? It isn’t like Mike Napoli or Juan Rivera have been able to take the first base job by the horns despite the opportunities they’ve been given. And even with Trumbo’s poor defensive reputation, he is probably still a step up defensively over Napoli and Rivera.
Evil: What do they have to lose? How about Trumbo’s trade value. With all of the hype this kid has generated, Trumbo isn’t long for Anaheim. His stock is so inflated right now that the Halos would be stupid to do anything to damage it. They should be doing everything in their power to maintain the illusion that Trumbo is a big-time power-hitting prospect and not just the next in the line of slugging Angel prospects who hit a bunch of homers and strike out a lot and then fall flat on their face in the majors (see Brandon Wood and Dallas McPherson).
Good: If trade value is your concern, then the Angels can’t hide him. That is what they’ve been doing with him all season long even though it made a ton of sense for them to promote him back when Morales first went down. If they try and keep him off the field the rest of this month, teams interested in trading for Trumbo are going to have no choice but to wonder why it is the Angels refuse to play him. And who is to say the he is destined to be traded? I know everyone wants the Angels to sign Carl Crawford, but if they miss out on him, then they might have to fill the void at designated hitter from within and Trumbo couldn’t be a more perfect candidate for that role.
Evil: There is nothing perfect about Trumbo. This Angel lineup has become more stagnant than anyone could have ever imagined. The last thing they need is another guy in the lineup who swings and misses too much and forsakes good situational hitting in favor of hoping for a home run. This team needs to get back to their old ways of running and pressuring the defense and get away from this station-to-station BS they’ve gotten bogged down in. That doesn’t leave any role for Trumbo, Crawford signing or not.
Good: I disagree, the Angels’ failure this season isn’t wholly about style of play, it is about an overall talent level. The team found out the hard way this season that some of their players aren’t as good as they thought they were. The only way to fix that, aside from crossing your fingers and hoping for the best next season, is to develop more talent from within. Trumbo has a chance to be a special kind of talent, if he can show that he can succeed in the big leagues, the Angels build up that talent level and thus have more options when they head into free agency this winter where they don’t actually have all that much money to spend.
Evil: Which is why they should shelter Trumbo from being exposed as a fraud. Without a potential budget crunch facing them this off-season, the Angels best bet at landing an impact player might be to package a prospect like Trumbo with a veteran player whose salary needs to be dumped so that they can clear some budget space for a free agent or just acquire a quality player straight up via trade.
Good: What makes you think bringing in another free agent or trade target is bound to work any better than developing a young player? The Kazmir trade blew up in the Angels’ face and the Matsui signing has been far less successful than originally imagined, and those moves cost the Angels lots of money and, in Kazmir’s case, quality prospects. I would much rather see the Halos take their chances trying to groom a homegrown talent than trying to go the mercenary route again. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Trumbo may have his weaknesses, but at least the Angels know what they are and can work around them.