Inside Mark Trumbo's process
June, 27, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
According to baseball-reference.com, Mark Trumbo leads the American League in OPS+, a useful statistic that combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage, then corrects for the ballpark where those numbers were produced.
You could argue it's the truest measure of a hitter's ability.
The slugging aspect is obvious. Half of Trumbo's 18 home runs have come at Angel Stadium, which has some of the hardest fences in the league to clear. Every player ranked above Trumbo on the home run list plays in a stadium more conducive to power. The only player with a better slugging percentage, Josh Hamilton, plays in one of the league's true launching pads.
Yet the most remarkable part of Trumbo's improvement has been a spike in his patience. Last season, he batted .254 and had a .291 on-base percentage, a spread of just .037 points. This season, he's batting .320 and has a .373 on-base percentage, a spread of .053. Less than halfway through the season, he's only six walks off last year's total.
And it's not an accident.
"I'll do drills where I have someone purposely throw me balls," Trumbo told Max and Marcellus on ESPNLA 710 Wednesday. "The goal is to pick a little area of the strike zone and focus there. The reality is it gets a little bigger in game action, but the idea is to stick in that area and don't venture too far out of it. At times I have, but by and large, I'm able to stick with that and it's gone all right."
Yeah, it's gone all right.