Mark Trumbo deserved ROY, but so did Jeremy Hellickson

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
11:38
AM PT
Was it a snub or just poor timing?

Mark Trumbo looked like a pretty good bet to win Rookie of the Year. What’s a guy have to do? Becoming the first rookie in Angels history to lead his team in home runs and RBIs isn’t enough?

But Trumbo, who picked up five first-place votes and finished second, ran into thick competition this year, particularly among pitchers. It’s hard to find fault with voters picking a guy, Jeremy Hellickson, who made 29 starts and had a sub-3.00 ERA.

Trumbo’s .254 batting average might have cost him in the end, causing some voters to look past his 29 home runs and 87 RBIs. He also needs to work on his plate discipline. Voters increasingly look at on-base percentage and Trumbo’s .291 mark undoubtedly cost him.

But there’s a lot to like about a young player with this much raw power and a knack for big hits. Trumbo, 25, who grew up a stone’s throw from Angel Stadium in Villa Park, would have been the Angels’ first Rookie of the Year since Tim Salmon in 1993. The Angels would have been knocked out of the AL West race a lot sooner if not for Trumbo's memorable walk-off home run off Texas' Mike Adams.

Trumbo had the jump on Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer, 21, by making the Angels’ Opening Day roster several weeks after the team learned Kendrys Morales wouldn’t be ready because of a slow recovery from a broken ankle. In May, Morales announced he would have a second round of season-ending surgery and Trumbo was cemented as the Angels’ everyday first baseman.

He played in 149 games before a stress fracture in his right foot cost him the Angels’ final few games. Trumbo could get some playing time at third base next season as the Angels try to accommodate Morales in their lineup.

The Angels drafted Trumbo as a pitcher in the 18th round of the 2004 draft, but an MRI to his right elbow showed some irregularities and the team made him a full-time hitter.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Mike Trout
BA HR RBI R
.310 23 74 69
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 23
RBIM. Trout 74
RM. Trout 69
OPSM. Trout 1.002
WG. Richards 11
ERAG. Richards 2.47
SOG. Richards 134