When the Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo from the Mariners last December, some eyebrows were raised at the decision to trade for a player whose power numbers had fallen off over the previous two seasons.
As Baltimore celebrates a Wild Card berth 10 months later, that trade -- which sent catcher Steve Clevenger to Seattle for Trumbo and left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser -- may be reviewed as one of the best moves of the 2015-16 offseason. As yet another power threat to an Orioles lineup that went homer-crazy this season, Trumbo bounced back in a major way, capturing the Major League home run title with 47 roundtrippers.
Seattle's Nelson Cruz finished second in the home run race with 43 -- his third straight 40-homer season -- followed by a three-way tie for third by Khris Davis, Brian Dozier and Edwin Encarnacion, who each clubbed 42. The 2016 campaign was the second straight season to feature at least eight hitters with 40 or more homers across the Majors.
Trumbo, who hit 36 homers combined in 2014-15, paced the big leagues with 26 fourbaggers by the All-Star break, claiming the No. 1 seed in the 2016 Home Run Derby won by Giancarlo Stanton. Consistency was key for the Orioles outfielder down the stretch, as he hit seven homers in July, 10 in August and seven more in September to claim his first home run crown.
Another contributing factor in Trumbo's homer title was that he consistently hit balls hard. Trumbo's average exit velocity of 93.9 mph, as tracked by Statcast™, ranked 10th-best among big leaguers who put at least 100 batted balls in play this year. Trumbo's 106.5 mph average exit velocity on home runs ranked 13th in the Majors, and he finished third in baseball with 67 barrels, or balls hit with a velocity and launch angle combination that generally lead to a .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage. Only Miguel Cabrera (71) and Cruz (68) tallied more.
Trumbo's 2016 title means Orioles players have captured the home run crown the past four seasons. Chris Davis captured the crown in 2013 and 2015, while Cruz claimed the 2014 title with Baltimore before moving on to Seattle.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.