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Christopher Fee

Ten Questions with Trevor May

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Entering his seventh professional season, Rochester Red Wings pitcher Trevor May is hoping that this isthe year that he gets his chance to pitch with the Minnesota Twins.One of the key pieces sent back from Philadelphia in the Ben Revere trade, the hype around May has always been there and it seems that early on in 2014 he's turning some heads. Through his first five starts in Rochester, May is 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA, but the stat that stands out the most is 31 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched whilewalking eight batters in that stretch. Recently after battingpractice, I had the chance to talk to him about how he's pitched thisseason, moving from the Phillies system to the Twins as well as hisother passion, music.


Chris Fee: How would you say your season has gone so far?


Trevor May: I've seen a lot of progress from things I worked on in the off-season, getting ahead of hitters.Results wise, a couple of them have been less than perfect, but a couple of them have been pretty good too. I think overall I have been getting ahead more, and that's something coming into Spring I was really emphasizing, making sure to get that strike one. I think thus far in this season, regardless of what numbers say, I have been getting ahead better, its kept me in the counts, its kept me in games better as well. One outing it was rain on, rain off, rain on, rain off, and I wasn't able to go deep because I was sitting for so long.The pitch count hasn't been raised as much as everyone would have liked because we've been rained out so many times, but I think the progress has definitely shown what I've been working on.


CF: You mentioned a little bit about the weather so far this season, how difficult is it as a pitcher not to have the consistency, getting your bullpen sessions,stretching your pitch counts, things like that?


TM: When I first started playing, especially every day it's tough, but it's just part of the game, the hitters have to go through it too. As a pitcher, if you're going to pitch on a cold day and it's dry, the advantage is definitely going to go to you, sometimes you almost hope there's a cold wind blowing in, guys with cold hands, it's tough to swing a bat. If you're pitching you can stay warm because you're moving the whole time, so I guess you just keep it positive no matter what's going on, it's supposed to get warmer here soon.


CF: On the nights that you pitch,what is your pre-game routine? Is there specific music you listen to,or meal that you eat?


TM: Something kind of new, I try to get up and move around and try to get a normal routine. On days, especially at home I don't have to be here (at the park) until three or four o'clock it's days I can kind of put a side errands, go to the grocery store, do laundry all kinds of stuff just so I can kind of move around, then I come in, hang out with the guys,eat a meal just like a normal day. I used to be big on playing music and getting psyched up and stuff, but I've thrown enough starts now to know that just being a teammate is the most important thing,especially on pitching day. I try not to put too much pressure on having a routine, and being superstitious or anything but so far it's working out pretty well.


CF: You spoke a little bit about getting ahead of the hitters more this season, and your walks are down this year, is there something you worked on in the off-season?What's the difference this season compared to the last couple?


TM: I made a lot of commitments in the beginning of August last year, because I wasn't happy with how my season was going. I was having a few epiphanies of how I'm successful and getting ahead of guys is something that I've always wanted to do, but I haven't been able to do that consistently.Through the off-season I conditioned myself mentally to take that mentality that anything could be determined by what hitters show me not what I'm giving them. Giving away free bases, that's what walks are letting guys have opportunity to hit them in, but if you're not walking guys they have to string hits together. Hitting is definitely a lower percentage than pitching, at the end of the day I have a rough one, I know it's because the other team was there to play, and I didn't have my best stuff that day, you just tip your cap and move on. It's the days that you just kind of give away big situations and you get yourself into trouble, then they capitalize on it, that's the day that good pitchers don't have it all. There's guys that walk plenty of guys in the big leagues, but it's if you're still getting ahead and it's a different situation where you aren't stringing them together, they don't hurt you as bad. My whole thing has been,anything negative results wise that's happened to me, it's going to be earned by the other team and not if I gave it away, that's how you build consistency, making the other team beat you. That's the name of the game, it's weird that it took me six years to kind of really commit to that idea, but that's what I'm here to do.


CF: What has been the biggest difference between being in the Twins system and the Phillies system?How hard of a transition has that been for you, and was it difficult being traded from the team that you were drafted by?


TM: It was an easy transition, a lot of things were similar. It's weird that since I've been with the Twins a couple of the Phillies coaches have actually come over to the Twins. It's the same game everywhere you go, the front office is a little different, different types of personalities,but every level you're at, you're going to see different people but the structure and how things are run are very very similar. When I was sent, it was a little bitter sweet, you want to make it with the team that drafted you, but that's not what happens a lot of the time in the game and I knew there was more of an opportunity over here.When I was in Philly the big four before (Roy) Halladay retired, they had Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and you see kind of a pattern there where they get guys to help them win now. It's tough to try to get your shot there, I saw it as an opportunity for me and they got a great player in return in Ben Revere. I hope that it works out for both sides in years to come, I'm confident that it will.


CF: Starting your first season in Triple-A, how is it being this close to the big leagues? Is there added pressure knowing that at any time they can call you to Minnesota based on your performance?


TM: Well, being in Double-A it's the same thing. Everyone says the same thing there as well, there are a lot of players there, Aaron Hicks went, Chris Herrmann went in 2012 straight from AA, when you need a guy you need a guy. Like I said, same game, that kind of “oh my gosh, it's right there, it's the main prize.” When you get there you're not done playing, you gotta keep playing the game, so the goal is to be as ready as possible when there's a spot to fill, when there's a game that needs a guy to win it, every day I get ready for that time.Whenever it is, because there are other guys that are starters and can fill spots too and I just want something for this team, no matter what day of the week it is that they feel comfortable picking any of us and that's what we all want. We are all trying to be as prepared as we can be, if you got a Triple-A staff that is all ready to go to the big leagues you got a pretty good team. Right now it's about winning here in Rochester and when it happens you just come to the field one day and it just happens, it's exciting in that way but like I said just getting prepared to get ready to go.


CF: Growing up in Washington State,safe to assume you were a Mariners fan as a kid? Who was the guy you emulated growing up and wanted to be like?


TM: I'm completely different, but I was a huge Randy Johnson fan and how he just was blowing guys away. I was also a huge Nolan Ryan fan, I was a power guy, when I was a little kid I just threw as hard as I could and had no idea where it was going, but that's how I pitched my entire life.They had Randy, and I loved A-Rod and Buhner, but my favorite Mariner of all time was Edgar Martinez. He played the game, and you couldn't get any better, doubles guy, 25 HR's a year, 120 RBI's, he was just the heart of the lineup and he played for so long, everyone loves him, but my mom is a Jamie Moyer fan, she loves him.
CF: You have a lot of interest in music, you're a DJ, what was it that drew you in and where did the passion come from?


TM: I've always been the guy that wanted to have the new music and the loudest sound system in my car. I don't know why but finding new stuff was always my thing, and dance music, I liked to dance when I was little. I've always kind of liked dance music and I discovered the electronic music scene, which is pretty big in Seattle. A lot of my friends are into it too, my brother has been producing music for over 10 years and I kind of got stepping stones from him and I just kind of wanted to make my own stuff. It has turned into a great hobby, especially during the season with the long bus rides, it seems like we don't have a lot of time but we have a lot of large blocks of time to kill.It's something that you can pick up during the day and become immersed in it, and that stuff will just help time blow by and it's easy to put down and that's the perfect hobby for baseball season. I've always liked it, and have gotten more and more into it each off-season, and it's what I do.


CF: Safe to say if you weren't playing baseball you'd be a DJ/Producer?


TM: I'd have areal job. If I weren't playing I'd be out of college and have a finance degree and have a job in finance and live in Seattle. That's probably what I'd be doing but I definitely would have gotten involved in the off-season, instead of baseball I'd be in finance but would spend the same amount of time involved in music & DJ'ing.


CF: What are your goals for the rest of the season, you talked about continuing to work on your control but what are you looking to accomplish?


TM: I've kind of switched, I used to have numbers goals and things like that but there are things that are out of your control that can change that stuff.What I want out of this season is to maintain that idea that whatever is earned off of me is earned by the hitters. Any game I want to put our team in the position to win and I want to be able to adjust to situations and really really focus in when I need to make a pitch and then make the pitch. Literally that's the thing about pitchers, the good guys make the pitches when they have to more often than the guys that don't, that's literally it. As of late I've had such good outings in the past couple outings, dominant stuff and then ask “What happened to them?” I think I've identified a lot of them and where my head goes in a lot of those outings and every single bullpen I throw I think of those situations where I can either make the pitch or not make the pitch so that I can throw them during the games. My whole goal is to be ready when someone is needed, and if it's not my turn it's not my turn, but I want to win games and it may not be this year and it may not be anytime soon but when I go I want to contribute to a big league team and the Twins are in a spot where they want to win, and we want to win as well. I know that Alex Meyer,and Kris Johnson and Logan Darnell and Scott Diamond all want to win too, and it's whoever is going to do the job is the guy and that's where I want to to be. We have people in charge that have confidence that I can go out and do a job and that's literally the one goal that there is, and with that the numbers will come.
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