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  • TD Top Prospects: #10 Trevor May

    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.


    Age: 24 (DOB: 09/23/89)
    2013 Stats
    NEW BRITAIN: 9-9, 151.2 IP, 4.51 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 159/67 K/BB
    2012 Stats
    READING: 10-13, 149.2 IP, 4.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 151/78 K/BB
    ETA: 2014
    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.

    The Good
    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.”

    The Bad
    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.
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. VandyTwinsFan's Avatar
      VandyTwinsFan -
      I'm excited to see May pitch. I hope his high K rate maintains in AAA and the bigs. If so, I'll never complain about a walk from him. I'll give him a pass. Screw it. Everybody gets one.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      One of the guys I'm really interested in this year. I've said it somewhere else, our top half-dozen or so guys are probably going to be really good, and that's exciting. It's players like May, though, that if they can find "it", suddenly our farm system and major league futures look amazing. It's probably a long-shot, but he has the stuff to really make a break-through. Fortunately we have a bunch of guys with that potential for break-through so hopefully a couple of them will.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      It's possible he showed up here in Ft Myers yesterday. There were new faces here and I thought one of them was him. Also here were Burton and Perkins. It's good these guys show up early.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      The mental side of the game.

      I know we have had numerous discussions about the Twins slow move to embrace analytics, where do they stand on sports psychology? Many teams were employing sports psychologists back in the 80's and 90's.

      Here we have a guy with the physical tools, but have we given him the mental tools? Is that key guy a former major lead pitcher that can teach or coach or a trained psychologist? Some guys just don't have it (not intelligence, but the mental tools to cope with dealing with the pressure, focusing on the specific task of pitching). Some guys are able to connect with a Pelfrey or a vet like Santana. Some can connect with a coach like Anderson or a specific catcher. Some guys need more help than other, but everyone needs to find that mental key that allows them to succeed.

      the question is, do the Twin's employ a sports psychologist?
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      It would be nice to see May put in quality time at Rochester. Maybe a full season at AAA, with a September call-up. Then he can inherit Correia's place in the 2015 starting rotation.
    1. birddog's Avatar
      birddog -
      Twins can't give up on prospects like May as starters and too quickly turn them into relievers. He was always in the same sentence as Meyer last year and we need both to become quality starters. TR can always find relievers. As Twins fans know all too well, we won't get over the 90-loss hump until we get some quality starts which May can deliver.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by minn55441 View Post
      the question is, do the Twin's employ a sports psychologist?
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as polio.
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as syphilis.
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as bubonic plague...
      ... attacking one...
      ... but infecting all.
      Ah, but curable


      Sorry, coudn't help myself Great movie. Back on topic now.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      He wasn't in the same sentence from most experts....he was here on TD and other MN outlets. I don't know what to expect, but last year reaffirmed for those that think he is a reliever that he is just that. I sit in the middle camp, of, no idea.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      There are as many as a dozen prospects that are the equal of or better than May. That's really encouraging.

      Oh, 13 if you count Engelb Vielma.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      May has given up just under a hit per inning the last couple years, add the walks and that makes for a pretty bad WHIP (as well as high pitch counts). Does he strike out enough to make up for that? May has some upside but I don't think he'll be able to succeed as a starter. Prove me wrong Trevor!
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as polio.
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as syphilis.
      Losing is a disease...
      ...as contagious as bubonic plague...
      ... attacking one...
      ... but infecting all.
      Ah, but curable


      Sorry, coudn't help myself Great movie. Back on topic now.
      You could have at least provided the link.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN-aCYVVtyo

      Classic scene from the Natural
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      At the major league level, the level of talent (physical) really isn't that much different between players. (of course with a few exceptions). I think most players will admit that one of the toughest adjustments at the major league level is the mental aspect of the game.

      Dan Duqette, the Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations, has added sports psychologist Seth Kaplan to provide mental-performance services, with a focus on the pitching staff. "It's mental toughness," Duquette said of the lessons that Kaplan -- who also worked with the 82nd Airborne Division based out of Fort Bragg, N.C. -- will bring to the Orioles. "Mental toughness training. He's going to concentrate on the pitchers. The idea is to help them prepare mentally to prepare physically. It's a key component."



      The field of sports psychology has steadily taken on a larger supporting role in getting players ready to take the field. According to a 1994 study by Dr. Ronald Smith, a former psychologist for the Astros, psychological skills are as indicative of future performance as physical or technical skills in Minor League Baseball. It's even more so the case for pitchers.

      One of the first players to turn to a sports psychologist was right-hander John Smoltz. After two strong years as a young starter for the Braves, he was 2-11 at the All-Star break in 1991 and turned to sports psychologist Jack Llewellyn.
      "It's been a big key in my turnaround," Smoltz said at the time. "The main thing he taught me was to focus on the good and forget the bad."
      And it worked. Smoltz rebounded to go 12-2 in the second half and was a big part in the Braves' run to the World Series, which they lost to the Twins in seven games in one of baseball's most memorable Fall Classics.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      He wasn't in the same sentence from most experts....he was here on TD and other MN outlets. I don't know what to expect, but last year reaffirmed for those that think he is a reliever that he is just that. I sit in the middle camp, of, no idea.
      They're used in the same sentence because they're both big arms who came to the organization about a week apart. We were getting to know both of them. But, there isn't much comparison between them as prospects (as is seen in our ranking, and in my personal ranking, they're even further apart). That said, I would always keep a guy starting as long as possible. Shifting to the bullpen can be done anytime.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      They're used in the same sentence because they're both big arms who came to the organization about a week apart. We were getting to know both of them. But, there isn't much comparison between them as prospects (as is seen in our ranking, and in my personal ranking, they're even further apart). That said, I would always keep a guy starting as long as possible. Shifting to the bullpen can be done anytime.
      I agree. If you dig into his starts last year in more detail, he becomes much more intriguing. He had two terrible starts (8 ER), which the article mentioned.

      If you throw out those two appearances, here is what you were left with:

      25 starts, 145 IP, 9-7, 3.72 ERA, 155 K, 1.31 WHIP. 3.66 BB / 9.

      Here is his distribution of ER by start, throwing out the 2 8 ER appearances:

      0 - 4 starts
      1 - 3 starts
      2 - 7 starts
      3 - 3 starts
      4 - 6 starts
      5 - 2 starts

      It seems to me his ERA and BB numbers are skewed an awful lot by two bad outings. This kid gave his team a chance to win in almost every start last year.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Last season I seem to remember info about May touching mid 90s on his FB after he had passed the 100-pitch mark. That is very special and I think they should work with him as a starter as long as can. That said, a guy with that arm strength would throw really hard as a reliever.
    1. B Richard's Avatar
      B Richard -
      No reason to rush the decision on whether or not he belongs in the bullpen. Give the kid a change of scenery (a year in Rochester with a full year to continue starting) and see what happens. He is one small adjustment away from becoming a major piece of our starting rotation going forward
    1. oldguy10's Avatar
      oldguy10 -
      Surely work with him as a starter but also cut bait sooner rather than later, sounds as though he could be terrific in the pen. And could he close? I do not think it is too early to consider some of these young pitchers as closers down the line. Perkins will not last forever in that role and it might even be propitious to move him sooner rather than later also. This idea of holding onto a "closer" until he is completely out of gas is absurd at best.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldguy10 View Post
      Surely work with him as a starter but also cut bait sooner rather than later, sounds as though he could be terrific in the pen. And could he close? I do not think it is too early to consider some of these young pitchers as closers down the line. Perkins will not last forever in that role and it might even be propitious to move him sooner rather than later also. This idea of holding onto a "closer" until he is completely out of gas is absurd at best.
      Until we feel he has a future in the bullpen and we are convinced he has no future as a starter, keep giving him the ball every fifth day. 180-200 IP is much more valuable than 60-70 IP. Some guys just seem to be pen guys, like Perkins. But this kid hasn't failed yet and could still turn out to be a very good pitcher.
    1. jimv2's Avatar
      jimv2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      It would be nice to see May put in quality time at Rochester... Then he can inherit Correia's place in the 2015 starting rotation.
      I've been hoping Meyer would inherit that.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      I'm almost convinced he's going to end up on a Glen Perkins career path, ultimately ending up in the Bullpen.

      He'll certainly (hopefully) start games for the Twins, but I am convinced he will be a dominant reliever if he ends up there.

      Perkins averaged around 91 MPH with his fastball as a starter, and has averaged nearly 95 in relief. Same type of thing with Duensing. Applying this methodology gives May elite velocity in the 'pen.

      My only issue with the write-up is this statement:

      "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."

      I love May's profile as a reliever, and hope it can work as a starter. There are examples of good relievers everywhere who have high walk rates, and I'm inclined to say his 4.0 BB/9IP is not an alarming rate in a reliever sense. It's still high, but if you're combining a walk rate near that with K-rate around 9.0+K/9IP, you'll find a lot of successful relievers in the Majors with those numbers. Many of whom who don't have the pure stuff May does.

      But the thinking is correct, there's no point in turning him into a reliever now.
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