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Closing Time: Sound the Trumbo! Adjustment has 1B jammin’

Every Saturday, information heavyweights the Weekly Rundown and Closing Time join forces, a pairing equivalent to ice-cold beer and any tubed meat, to keep you covered on the present while providing a glimpse into the future. Batter up!

When tinkering one's mental approach Sir Winston Churchill put it best, "Attitude is a little change that makes a big difference."

For underappreciated first baseman Mark Trumbo(notes) the sagacious Prime Minister's words couldn't ring truer.

Back in March, Trumbo was largely considered at best a temporary solution for recovering All-Star Kendrys Morales(notes). But a season-ending setback for the molasses-healing incumbent in early May forced Mike Scoioscia to cash in his insurance policy, inserting the rookie into the everyday lineup.

Though he's experienced bouts of inconsistency, Trumbo, for the most part, has placed the second place Angels in good hands, providing much needed power for a club reliant on a pair of Cretaceous-aged bats (Torii Hunter(notes) and Bobby Abreu(notes)). So far, he's amassed a commendable .262-7-21-16-3 line through 141 at-bats, putting the 25-year-old on a pace (.262-24-74-56-10) comparable to what Ike Davis(notes) achieved a season ago during his inaugural campaign.

Outspoken and accountable, Trumbo has also become a modern day William Wallace in the clubhouse, imploring his teammates to aggressively attack pitches and support the starting staff. The youngster, presumably wearing blue face-paint while pacing back-and-forth on horseback, drove his point home after Friday's dismantling of Tim Hudson(notes). From the AP:

Santana got offensive help from Mark Trumbo(notes) with a three-run homer andAlberto Callaspo(notes) with three RBIs. The run total matched the Angels' entire output in their previous five games combined. In four of Santana's previous six starts, his teammates didn't score while he was in the game.

"It's awesome," Trumbo said. "The starting pitchers have been doing more than their share of the job, and we need to start picking it up and taking a little of the pressure off their backs."

"The plan was to get the ball up, because [Hudson's] obviously got a really good sinker," Trumbo said. "But more than anything, it was about being determined. It's time for us to go out there and play like we're capable of. And if we're going down, we're going down swinging. There's no more tentative baseball. We've had flashes of the way we can play, so we're going to come out and play hard and see what happens."

As the Piano Man crooned in Friday's Closing Time, it's extremely difficult, for some, to count on an inexperienced free-swinger (28.5 K%) who qualifies at an overloaded position. Though his batting average may leave a great deal to be desired, Trumbo's improving approach (Mar/Apr K/BB: 0.09, May: 0.38), double-digit steals potential and HR/FB rate nearly identical to prolific thumpers Adrian Gonzalez(notes) and Paul Konerko(notes) suggest he could land well within the 1B top-20 come October. Recall last year at Triple-A Salt Lake he launched 36 homers and drove in 122 runs over 532 at-bats. Even taking into account the hitter-friendly nature of the PCL, his major league equivalents checked in at a respectable .250-25-82. As Scioscia recently noted, Trumbo will strike out a ton, but he possesses a very high HR/RBI ceiling. In a way, he's a poor man's Adam Dunn(notes).

Unbelievably available in over 80-percent of Yahoo! leagues, the mighty righty is worth an immediate add in 12-team and deeper mixers. It's conceivable he could outperform more heavily owned first basemen Carlos Lee(notes), Carlos Pena, Mitch Moreland(notes) and, gulp, Billy Butler(notes) over the remainder of the season (Sidebar: It took an immeasurable amount of courage to include that last name), especially if he eventually creeps up the order. On the year he's batting .300 with runners in scoring position. And this month, he's notched a .302 overall BA.

Because of his refined approach and tremendous power potential Trumbo deserves to be heard.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 434 at-bats, .258 BA, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 51 R, 7 SB

Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson(notes) was placed on the 15-day DL with an inflamed right shoulder. Marlins skipper Edwin Rodriguez doesn't believe the setback is "too serious," meaning he should be activated once eligible to return June 1. Since this is the Year of the Pitcher 2.0, several free agent crutches are available to help Johnson supporters weather the storm, including Phil Humber(notes) (18-percent owned), Erik Bedard(notes) (16-percent), Charlie Morton(notes) (16-percent), Freddy Garcia(notes) (11-percent), Phil Coke(notes) (two-percent) and Dillon Gee(notes) (two-percent).

Closing Time: Sound the Trumbo! Adjustment has 1B jammin’• On the surface, Jake Westbrook(notes) has the appearance of a toxic asset — 5-plus ERA, vomit-worthy WHIP, near 1.00 K/BB — but over his past several starts he's quietly been very useful. Saturday in the battle for Show Me State supremacy, the groundball specialist sizzled holding the Royals scoreless over eight innings, scattering just four hits. Since April 24, he's emerged victorious three times posting a 2.81 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. His erratic control which plagued him throughout April is a distant memory. Considering the abundant weak contact he draws (2.71 GB/FB), and Dave Duncan's wizardry, the former Indian should be washed on stream cycle in deeper leagues. His next five matchups: at Col, vs. SF, at Hou, at Mil, vs. KC.

Homer Bailey(notes) skeptics have expressed their opinions over the past few days, citing two starts against basement dweller Houston and one against the equally bad Cubs were far from challenging. However, Saturday's turn against red-hot Cleveland likely earned the former top prospect some well-deserved respect. Over seven solid innings, he surrendered just two earned on four hits with zero walks and four strikeouts. The righty's near 7:1 K:BB ratio on the season, a result of an increased dependency on his slider, certifies his rising star status. Coaxing more errant swings, the post-post-post hype sleeper is finally paying dividends. It's insulting he's owned in just 48-percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Rejuvenated Yankee Curtis Granderson(notes) crushed his 15th homer of the season, a solo blast off the Mets' Chris Capuano(notes). The Big League Stew contributor is now halfway to matching his career high 30 bombs in roughly a quarter of the at-bats. The Baby Grand's torrid streak begs the question: Can he realistically hit 40 homers? Currently his HR/FB percentage sits nearly 10 percent above his career average. That combined with a rise in strikeouts would indicate a major long-ball drought could be possible down the road. However, given Yankee Stadium's short porch in right, Grandy's advancement against lefties and his Berkman-esque ISO (.331) it's definitely possible. But because the market continues to be very bullish on the outfielder — he was dealt for Prince Fielder(notes), Adrian Gonzalez, Cliff Lee(notes) and Justin Verlander(notes) in one-for-one moves this week — it would be wise to field offers. I'm simply not buying his 50-homer pace.

Quick Hitters: Jose Bautista(notes) must be the lovechild of Babe Ruth and Zeus — at least half his chromosomes are not human. Including Saturday's pair of homers, he now is on pace for 66 homers, averaging an insane one long-ball per 7.3 at-bats. He also swiped base No. 5. No player in the history of the game has joined the 60-20 club, though three have reached 50-20 (Willie Mays, Ken Griffey and Brady Anderson). … One day after Frank Francisco(notes) coughed up three runs in a 2-2 tie with Houston, Octavio Dotel(notes) was called on in ninth, converting his first save since August 25 last year. Francisco was 5-of-6 in save opps prior to Friday's implosion, giving him a fairly long leash. Still, if the primary option continues to stumble, Dotel could be deployed over Jon Rauch(notes) in closing situations. … Cracking his fourth homer of the season, Alex Rios(notes) might be finally waking up from his early season coma. The outfielder has hit safely in six of his past seven games. Keep in mind he's a career .297 hitter in May. … Matt Garza(notes) was scratched from his start in Boston with elbow tightness. Mike Quade considers his prized hurler day-to-day. … Pedro Alvarez(notes), just before he was poised for a breakout, was placed on the 15-Day DL with a balky quad. Tumbleweed displacer, Brandon Wood(notes), should man the hot corner in Pittsburgh over the next couple weeks. … For once my ability to forecast is more credible than someone else's. Harold Camping's probable next prophecy: Andre Ethier will be named SI's Sportsman of the Year. … Jason Heyward(notes), bothered again by a sore shoulder, did not take the field against Atlanta. As discussed in Thursday's Lames, the injury could severely limit the 21-year-old's power production over the remainder of the season. It would be no surprise if surgery eventually becomes the only cure-all. …


For stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and meteorological influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.

Closing Time: Sound the Trumbo! Adjustment has 1B jammin’

Other AL Double Dippers: Jason Vargas(notes), Sea (at Min, NYY), Danny Duffy(notes), KC (at Bal, at Tex), Carlos Villanueva(notes), Tor (at NYY, ChW)

Closing Time: Sound the Trumbo! Adjustment has 1B jammin’

Other NL Double Dippers: Dustin Moseley(notes), SD (StL, at Was), Joe Saunders(notes), Ari (at Col, at Hou)


Images courtesy of US Presswire/AP

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