Mark Trumbo moving to third base might already be the most discussed storyline of spring training for the Angels. Who am I kidding? It is easily the hottest topic in training camp and it was before he even took his first grounder (especially the one that he fielded with his face). People have been endlessly pontificating over whether or not the Trumbomber can handle the transition since the idea first popped up at the end of the 2011 season. So what's the answer to this major question? Can he pull it off?
Those in the "yes" camp are eager to point that he wasn't half-bad at first base last season. Amongst qualified players, he finished with the fourth-best UZR at the position and actually led all first basemen in defensive runs saved. For such a large man, he showed surprising range and agility, making several diving stops throughout the year. He also liked to show off his cannon of an arm whenever he could, not that anyone doubted that the converted pitcher had the arm strength. It does not take a big leap of logic to deduce that a player capable of handling one corner infield position well could at least be passable on the other side of the diamond.
Those in the "no" camp love are quick to recall Trumbo's own tales of how disastrous his previous attempt at playing third base went when he was first drafted. After that comes the obvious argument that first base and third base are very different positions and that almost no player in history has ever switched from first to third at the major league level without any experience at the hot corner. There is a reason these things are never done, right? Besides, just watching Trumbo, one can see that he doesn't have the softest of hands, as evidenced by his curiously low number of scoop plays on throws at first base. There is also the fact that at 6'4" and 220 pounds, Mark would be one of the physically largest third basemen in the league. Above all, his foot injury has given him almost no time learn the position. Therefore, it won't work.
At this juncture, the rules of blogging mandate that I drown you in sabermetrics, heat graphs and spray charts. You've no doubt read a number of those such articles in the past few weeks. But I'm not going to do that. (I feel like such a rebel! I really hope the blogger gestapo don't come for me.)