The evolution of Mark Trumbo

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
3:06
PM PT
Sunday night in Texas, Mark Trumbo took a 2-and-2 fastball from Rangers reliever Mark Lowe that may or may not have brushed the outside edge of the strike zone. Trumbo says he could have lived with it if the umpire had called him out on strikes. One pitch later, Lowe threw him a slider for a ball and Trumbo trotted to first base with a walk.

A year ago, Trumbo admitted, he probably would have swung at the same pitch.

"I thought about it a lot in the off-season," Trumbo said. "I wish at times I could have done a better job getting on base last year. You're a much more valuable player when you do."

The slugging percentage was evident last season when Trumbo hit 29 home runs as a rookie, but his newfound plate discipline (team-high .398 OBP) has been the most surprising development in Trumbo's game. He has nine walks, two more than Albert Pujols.

Last season, Trumbo finished second in rookie of the year balloting despite a .291 OBP, one of the lowest marks in the majors. Chasing fewer balls has also helped get Trumbo pitches to hit. His six home runs and 16 RBIs lead the team and he is hitting .357 this month.

Few players change their approach this dramatically once they reach the major leagues, but it appears to be working for Trumbo. It's also more in keeping with his style in the minor leagues, where pitchers were well aware of his prodigious power. He had a .368 OBP in his final season at Triple-A.

"The fact now that he's getting more walks is probably a byproduct of opposing teams really understanding the threat he is in the batter's box," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

* Scioscia said there is "no update" on the status of Torii Hunter, who is on the restricted list after his teenage son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, was arrested Monday in Texas on suspicion of sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony.

Here are lineups for Tuesday's 4:05 p.m. game vs. Oakland:

Oakland
Jemile Weeks 2B
Cliff Pennington SS
Josh Reddick RF
Seth Smith LF
Kila Ka'aihue DH
Josh Donaldson 3B
Daric Barton 1B
Kurt Suzuki C
Collin Cowgill CF

Angels
Mike Trout CF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Albert Pujols 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Trumbo RF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Wilson C

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

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169