Join us over the next two weeks as Twins Daily will be counting down our Top 10 Twins prospects. The names and rankings created quite a debate among the Twins Daily writers, so hopefully it can create some discussion among our readers as well. We’ll look at a prospect each day leading up to those glorious headlines that baseball fans spend winter waiting for, “Pitchers and Catchers Report.”
Today, we’ll begin our Top 10 Minnesota Twins countdown with our choice for #10, RHP Trevor May.
24 (DOB: 09/23/89)
NEW BRITAIN: 9-9, 151.2 IP, 4.51 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 159/67 K/BB
READING: 10-13, 149.2 IP, 4.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 151/78 K/BB
2013 Ranking: 9
Trevor May was the top high school player in the state of Washington as a senior. He was drafted in the 4th
round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. He agreed to sign when offered a $375,000 bonus. Following the 2011 season, he was named the top Phillies prospect according to Baseball America
. After the 2012 season, May came to the Twins, along with Vance Worley, in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere.
Taking a cursory glimpse at Trevor May’s 2013 statistics at New Britain and comparing them to his 2012 statistics for the Reading Phillies, also in the Eastern League, it appears he didn’t make much progress. However, closer inspection shows he improved in nearly every statistical category. His ERA and WHIP dropped. He pitched a couple more innings. If you’re a fan of FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), he went from 4.88 in 2012 to 3.79 in 2013. Part of that may be because his BABIP increased from .292 to .329. His home run rate dropped from 1.32 in 2012 to 0.83 in 2013.
When the Twins finally decided to shut down Kyle Gibson at the end of the season, May was promoted to AAA Rochester for the playoffs. It is likely he will begin the 2014 season with the Red Wings, and it is also likely he will make his MLB debut during the season.
Trevor May certainly fits the profile of what a team should be looking for in a starting pitcher. He is 6'-5" and about 240 pounds. He boasts a fastball that sits between 93 and 95 mph and has one of the best change-ups in the organization. He also has a solid curveball. In terms of ‘stuff,’ Trevor May has what it takes.
Unlike most starting pitchers in the Twins (and any other) organization, he has the ability to miss bats. In 2013, he was one of just three Twins starters to strike out more than a batter per inning (Alex Meyer and former Twin Tim Atherton were the others).
May can be described as sturdy. In fact, in a recent Talk to Contact podcast
, May mentioned that he is doing yoga five days a week as well as using the Twins agility program in an attempt to be more agile. He said, “I’m a big, not necessarily agile human” so any increased flexibility and agility will only be helpful.
However, he also believes his lack of flexibility has helped him be as durable and eat as many innings as he has. He believes his ability to remain healthy is, at least in part, due to “my appendages don’t bend the wrong way very far.”
Although May did see a reduction in his walk rate from 2012 to 2013, it is still a major area of concern for him. In 2012, he walked more than a batter every other inning. He was still well over four walks per nine innings in 2013.
We read a lot about consistency with Kyle Gibson in 2013; it may also be the biggest key to May’s success moving forward. In 2013, May had 17 starts in which he gave up three runs or fewer. He had ten starts in which he gave up four earned runs or more. Twice he gave up eight runs in an outing. The key in those games seems to be not getting off to a good start. When he struggled, he gave up early runs and was often unable to keep the damage to a minimum.
The Bottom Line
Trevor May certainly has the abilities to become a quality major league starter. He has plenty of fastball and a good array of secondary pitches. He also has the elusive (to the Twins) ability to miss bats. Unfortunately, control and consistency have not always been there for him from start to start and occasionally even from inning to inning.
Some have said if he can’t gain enough control, he could make a transition to the bullpen. That may be true, but I don’t know how many late-inning relievers are counted on if they can’t throw strikes in key situations.
May told the Talk to Contact guys that he thinks the mental side of pitching is really going to be key for him. He found success late last season and in the Arizona Fall League by being able to focus on the process of pitching. He spoke of the act of throwing pitches as being a process. That process involves knowing that regardless of who is standing in the box, he can repeat his motion and delivery (the physical) because he can focus on what he wants to throw and where he wants to throw it. If he can maintain that focus and consistency throughout the season and even reduce his walk rate by another half walk over nine innings, he has a chance to contribute to the middle of the Twins rotation for several years.
Check back tomorrow to see who comes in at #9.