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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Mark Trumbo Won't Be A Regular At Third

Something I missed yesterday, but a wonderful analysis by David Schoenfield at ESPN SweetSpot on why Mark Trumbo will never be a regular at third base, or at least, why the odds are badly stacked against him:
I did a little search on Baseball-Reference and checked all players since 1950 who had played at least 300 games at first base and third base. I picked what I thought would be a reasonable standard of playing time; if you played 300 games at third base, it means a manager was at least willing to live with you out there for a couple seasons' worth of games. This would help narrow down players who had played both positions and highlight guys who may have made the first-to-third transition. I figured it would be a large list. After all, a lot of third basemen get shifted to first base, right?

There were only 24 such players. The list: Harmon Killebrew, Deron Johnson, Joe Torre, Dick Allen, Richie Hebner, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Enos Cabell, Ray Knight, Bob Horner, Darrell Evans, Pedro Guerrero, George Brett, Jeff King, Dave Magadan, Ron Coomer, Todd Zeile, Phil Nevin, Shea Hillenbrand, Kevin Youkilis, Jim Thome, Aubrey Huff, Wes Helms, Miguel Cabrera.

You know how many of those 24 converted from first base to third base? One.
Wow. The consequences of that are enormous. Trumbo never played third in the minors, which makes for a tough sell defensively. He has made some very nice plays there this spring, but we may write some of that off due to sample size.

Read the whole thing. His conclusion that Trumbo is a utility guy (with a goodly amount of pop) seems to me well-founded.

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