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Appreciating Mark Trumbo for what he is

He's just a big strong dude—one who happened to hit the longest (legitimate) oppo shot of the year.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

They say you don't know what you have in a ballclub until they've played 50 games. Well, specifically, Lloyd said that. His Seattle Mariners have now played 132 games and, not only do we know who they are, but we're growing pretty tired of them.

But in knowing what we have, there is comfort in familiarity, even if that's generally as a result of numbness. Though even in the numbness, and the bad, there's an appreciation for the slivers of good—even if they are ultimately meaningless.

Aaaaand, this is way too serious a lede for a post about a dinger. But hey, now it's done and we're onto said home run.

Last night, Mark Trumbo did this:

That's an opposite-field home run—into the upper deck. It's off Dallas Keuchel, likely this year's American League Cy Young winner, and it's the first home run he's given up at home since August of last year.

For purposes of this post, what's interesting is that, according to Statcast, it traveled 429 feet. And we know, thanks to the always-great Baseball Savant, that it left the bat 17 degrees right of center.

This gives us the paramaters for the statement that's right up in the subhead, the one you already know because I already told you. Mark Trumbo has the farthest legitimate opposite-field home run of the year. Really, this is a tweet that is now a blog post but feel free to keep following for the explanation—or just dinger gifs.

So, why is Mark Trumbo's 17-degree mark significant? Well, to my view, that gives the look of a real opposite-field blast. There have been guys who have hit long home runs just right of center, but pushing a ball to dead center that slices a little to right isn't quite the same feat as hitting one to the right-center alley, or beyond—and in taking a look, even just a couple degrees makes a big difference.

For example, here's what 428 feet and 15 degrees right of center looks like, as Paul Goldschmidt vandalizes a LED board. I'm not even kidding, either. Watch him ruin this sign.


Now, as you've probably noticed, I've used the word "legitimate" multiple times now in prefacing Mark Trumbo's home run. He does not, actually, have the farthest opposite-field home run as defined by the mentioned parameters. There are two that exceed the 428-foot mark when left or right of center by at least 17 degrees.

Here's Jhonny Peralta going 436 feet.


And here's Ben Paulsen at 438 feet.

Ben Paulsen

I'm sure you can spot the similarity there.

I mean, I don't mean to blindly dismiss the power presented in each home run. Not entirely, at least. Just, you know, mostly. Because yeah:

Now, of course, you can mess around with the mostly arbitrary parameters if you want—for righties and lefties. What if someone hit one just a little less far, but the same degrees right of center? That'd be Ryan Braun at 425 feet.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is just start playing with the angles. I mean, if you say any home run to the right of dead center for a right-handed hitter counts as an opposite-field home run, Giancarlo Stanton has some massive shots that well exceed 429 feet. I will say though, you have to get all the way over to 12 degrees right of center—remember, Trumbo's at 17—to see someone match his distance outside Coors.

And oh hey, will you look who it is—it's the guy he was traded for (and, amazingly still in the game, Aaron Harang):


Yes, that deal's going to look bad for a long time. But hey, Mark Trumbo's actually been pretty decent for a while now. After a horrid almost season-killing June, Trumbo's posted a 138 wRC+ for the Mariners since. Sure, with the outfield play, that's only amounted to 0.7 fWAR (and a 2.4 full-season pace), at least the bat has been there.

Maybe, just maybe, the Mariners can think about him being a semi-useful piece—AT FIRST BASE—in 2016. But until then, we'll always have this, an absurdly random stat representing Trumbo's lone skill.