Playing in college at Fresno State during the 2008 season, he blew out his shoulder. Opting to rehab, instead of surgery, he fell in the 2008 draft to the Pirates in the second round. He refused to sign with the lowly Pirates and opted to play for my hometown Independent League – the Saint Paul Saints. He pitched in 19 innings with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings but a high walk rate (5.2 BB/9) proved enough to be drafted in the 2009 Supplemental round. Scheppers throws his fastball between 93 to 99 mph, depending on which role he’s currently filling (starting pitching or reliever), and possesses a curveball Keith Law describes as “filthy.” Baseball America says his curveball is a “potential plus-plus pitch.” His changeup is still a work in progress and he’ll need to develop this fully to stay in the rotation. Scouts like his delivery, even with the hitch in the back end; his short arm motion and good frame provide for a heavy workhorse type pitcher. Keith Law said in his preseason analysis that Scheppers, “Can miss big league bats now!” Could be a front-line starter or a top-end closer. How has his first pro season gone? (Numbers breakdown like this: Double-A has 11 innings pitched and the rest is at Triple-A.
2010 and Career Stats: 10.4 K/9 | 2.8 K/9 | 3.47 ERA | 1.20 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8 H/9 | .92 GO/AO
Minor League Splits doesn’t have his advanced stats, thus the limited numbers that we have to work with. I do have a few other numbers from his MiLB Player Page that are of note. First, his ERA as a reliever is 2.62 with 43 strikeouts and 14 walks in 34 1/3 innings pitched while limiting hitters to a .208 average; his ERA as a starter is 5.84 with 19 strikeouts and eight walks in 24 2/3 innings pitched while limiting hitters to a .330 average. He has started six games and pitched in 30 other games, for a reference point. It is clear, albeit a small sample size, that he pitches better from the bullpen. This is something all three sources (Baseball America, John Sickels, and Keith Law) mentioned is a possibility, and a “high probability” from Mr. Law. With the Rangers contending for the playoffs, when the rosters expand in September, expect Scheppers to fill in as Neftali Feliz did in 2009. Potential long-term upside, as his comparisons as a starter are Tim Lincecum (John Sickels) or a Brandon Morrow (Baseball America), or simply a top closer. I would think something more along the lines of Brandon Morrow, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
I’m digging deep on this one. I thought about writing up Brandon Belt, but Belt may not see any action this year in the majors. Trumbo was drafted out of high school and most scouts and managers wanted him to be a pitcher. He said “Bump that ‘ish,” and set out to be a slugger. It wasn’t until 2008 that he finally broke through at Class High-A (California) and Class Double-A (Texas League). From there, he has slowly risen in the Angels’ farm system. With plus-plus power to all fields – he has the best in the system – he lacks the selectivity to be a solid slugging first baseman. Due to his personal aversion to striking out, he swings early and doesn’t wait for “his pitch.” His pitch is a fastball, for the record. He has slowly begun to become more patient at the plate, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best it has ever been. His batting stance is wide, with nearly no stride which allows him to cover the whole plate. Defensively, well, baseball players have to play defense? Someone please tell Mark Trumbo this unfortunate news. His 2010 season so far at Triple-A (Pacific Coast League):
2010 Stats: .296/.364/.558 | 450 AB | 57 XBH | 28 Hr | .262 ISO | 3/4 SB/CS | 105:50 K:BB | .331 BABIP | 45.6 GB% | 16.3 LD% | 38.1 FB%
Career Stats: .273/.328/.468 | 2711 AB | 289 XBH | 112 Hr | .195 ISO | 34/27 SB/CS | 565:219 K:BB | .311 BABIP | 45.1 GB% | 15.3 LD% | 39.5 FB%
This year has been his best thus far. Helps that he’s playing in a great hitters league – not just park. Many of you are probably asking, “Why are you mentioning this boring first baseman when there are other highly touted prospects playing first?” That is an excellent question. Here’s the answer, “…could become the next Garrett Jones.” (attributed to John Sickels) With the ability to hit .260 and 250 and 30 home runs while paying absolutely nothing, Trumbo could be that missing link between midseason pick up for your title run and a missed opportunity. He may never battle Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols for dominating the first base position, but like the splendid Mr. Robot, he could easily win the affection of thousands of Razzball readers. Be ready to see him play the outfield because of Kendry Morales – who still has to recover from a broken leg and return to mashing. On an old Los Angels team, Trumbo may provide that hidden gem in the upcoming year(s).