TORONTO -- Wise beyond his 25 years, Mark Trumbo understands that rookies are best served being seen and felt, not heard. Only with media probing will the Angels' first baseman talk, humbly and briefly, about exploits (29 homers, 87 RBIs and counting) worthy of the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
While Trumbo internalizes his innermost thoughts, teammates aren't as shy in discussing his prowess with a bat in his hands. Veteran Vernon Wells watches Trumbo go about his business with a keen eye, recalling the early development of Toronto slugger Jose Bautista when they were linked in the Jays' lineup.
"The scary thing is he's still learning his swing, learning the pitchers in the league," Wells said of Trumbo, who is two homers away from Tim Salmon's club record for rookies. "He's already put himself at the top of the league as far as raw power is concerned.
"It takes time. It's a fair comparison. Bautista's swing is so quick; he generates so much power. In [batting practice], you can see the kind of raw power Trumbo has."
Added Torii Hunter: "Trumbo has awesome power. He's done some things you just don't see. He's one of the biggest reasons we're where we are."
After a mammoth Triple-A season (36 homers, 122 RBIs) with Salt Lake last season, Trumbo was expected to be a role player, backing up Kendrys Morales at first base while playing some outfield. But when Morales was lost for the season, requiring a second left ankle procedure, Trumbo became a pivotal player.
Manager Mike Scioscia says the Angels wouldn't be in contention without Trumbo's work, especially in the clutch.
"I'm never one for personal accolades," Trumbo said. "I've had enough opportunities, enough at-bats, to put some numbers up. It's all I asked for."