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I'm done with Fernando Rodney

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Ryan Pressly Appreciation Thread

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That mindset is exactly why the Twins need May in that role, even if it means delaying the starting opportunity that he has certainly earned.">

May’s Mentality Much Needed In Pen

When Trevor May is pitching in relief, he ditches his slider and sinker.

How come?

"Neither one of those are swing-and-miss pitches really,” he says, "and that’s more what I’m trying to do in the bullpen.”

That mindset is exactly why the Twins need May in that role, even if it means delaying the starting opportunity that he has certainly earned.
Image courtesy of Denny Medley, USA Today
In 2015, the Twins bullpen ranked last in the major leagues in strikeouts, right behind Detroit’s abysmal unit. Missing bats isn’t everything, but doing so effectively eliminates bad luck, bloopers and bleeders from the equation, which can be particularly critical in close late-game situations.

General manager Terry Ryan is quick to point out that his team's last-place ranking is “a little deceiving” since they received only partial seasons from May and Kevin Jepsen, and Glen Perkins was not himself after the All-Star break.

It’s a fair point. Even with little in the way of outside additions during the offseason, you’d expect more strikeouts – and better results – from the relief corps even if the Twins simply roll with the same group that finished last year, as it appears they basically will.

But there’s no guarantee that Perkins will fully rebound from his dismal second half, nor that Jepsen will replicate his uncharacteristically excellent performance after being acquired.

It is in this regard that May’s presence is vital. His stuff was good enough to yield quality strikeout numbers as a starter and plays up in relief, which consequentially led to an uptick in K-rate after he made the switch last summer.

That was when he was learning on the fly. Now, the right-hander heads into the 2016 season priming himself as a reliever. That entails a lot of different things compared to starting.

“You train a little bit differently,” May said of the alteration in approach. “You do a little bit less every day because you’ve got to be ready to go on a day-to-day basis instead of just looking forward to that one day.”

In some ways, less is more. If he sticks in a relief role, May will pitch way fewer innings, but he’ll affect way more games, and he’ll be deployed in more high-leverage situations.

He relishes the idea of being a designated go-to guy in those spots.

"I see it as an opportunity to step into a role that wasn’t filled in the offseason,” he said. "I’m excited about it. I think I proved last year that I could do it. I’m looking to build on that success this year."

Fans should be excited too. Because for all the hand-wringing about the lack of bullpen moves over the winter, May possesses a superior arsenal to many of the high-priced arms that were available on the market. He might be the most potent right-handed reliever to wear a Twins uniform since Joe Nathan.

As you can see from his 2015 velocity chart (via Brooks Baseball), May’s pitches revved up across the board after he moved to the bullpen in July. His K/9 rate increased from 8.0 before July 1st to 10.0 afterward.

Attached Image: mayvelo.png


Flashes of his dominance have been on display this spring. His fastball has lit up the radar gun, clocking within a few ticks of triple digits, and his offspeeds have garnered plenty of awkward swings. In 8 2/3 innings of work, May has fanned 11 hitters, including three in his single frame on Wednesday.

He has the makings of a bullpen ace, and one could argue that is an even more important asset than a reliable closer due to strategic usage.

The Minnesota bullpen is invariably going to be a question mark going into the regular season, but without May it would be far more concerning. Only by blindly ignoring all of this team’s circumstances can one really question the decision.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not necessarily a permanent switch. Ryan has stated that he still views May as a future starter, and that’s definitely where the 26-year-old righty wants to end up.

"Until that day they say you’re absolutely not a starter ever again, I’ll think that way,” May says, "because I still believe that I can do it.”

There’s little reason to think he can’t. But for now, he’s dutifully embracing this current challenge. Now there's a breath of fresh air.

Just as his swing-and-miss pitches will be in the late innings.


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108 Comments

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Secondary User
Mar 24 2016 01:01 AM
The temporary move bit is nonsense. Santana, Hughes and Gibson aren't going anywhere for the next three years. Berrios and Duffey coming up. Stewart, Thorpe, Jay. And this doesn't include any acquisitions. Where does a spot open up for him?
    • jimbo92107, TheLeviathan and Platoon like this

In the last year of their contracts Santana and Hughes become tradeable assets if the team is not contending. Depending on the situations and what is available, a team "going for ir" might consider taking on a longer contract as they might not go bust as badly as Oakland did.

    • Blackjack likes this
Terry Ryan is quick to point out that his team's last-place ranking is “a little deceiving” since they received only partial seasons from May and Kevin Jepsen, and Glen Perkins was not himself after the All-Star break.>>>>> Did Ryan say who was injured all the other years the Twins were ranked that low? It must have been an unfortunate set of circumstances for it to be an annual event? The May situation is inevitable and unfortunate.the inevitable is that he is the logical talent to slot into the pen. But it's logical because of the unfortunate. That being that the Twins won't eat had contracts, meaning the SP roster is stuffed, won't bring up young SO type pitchers, and weren't honest with him last winter, that barring an injury or uninitiated trade, he was BP bound. A FO blows smoke all the time, but this one was transparent and ham handed!
    • rghrbek and jimmer like this

"General manager Terry Ryan is quick to point out that his team's last-place ranking is “a little deceiving” since they received only partial seasons from May and Kevin Jepsen, and Glen Perkins was not himself after the All-Star break."

 

Ahh, pointing out Perkins terrible 2nd half, but failing to mention the 28 innings they did get from Jepsen were farrrr better than can be expected of him this season.  

 

Terry Ryan is quick to point out that his team's last-place ranking is “a little deceiving” since they received only partial seasons from May and Kevin Jepsen, and Glen Perkins was not himself after the All-Star break.>>>>> Did Ryan say who was injured all the other years the Twins were ranked that low? It must have been an unfortunate set of circumstances for it to be an annual event? The May situation is inevitable and unfortunate.the inevitable is that he is the logical talent to slot into the pen. But it's logical because of the unfortunate. That being that the Twins won't eat had contracts, meaning the SP roster is stuffed, won't bring up young SO type pitchers, and weren't honest with him last winter, that barring an injury or uninitiated trade, he was BP bound. A FO blows smoke all the time, but this one was transparent and ham handed!

 

Why would Ryan say anything about the previous years when he was, I assume, asked about the lack of strikeouts last year?

 

 

    • Brock Beauchamp, old nurse and howieramone2 like this
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HitInAPinch
Mar 24 2016 07:36 AM

If the MiLB starting prospects continue to develop, May is in the right spot.Both as a reliever and future closer.

    • old nurse, Vanimal46 and howieramone2 like this

 

If the MiLB starting prospects continue to develop, May is in the right spot.Both as a reliever and future closer.

 

There is 0 correlation between "MiLB starter prospects" and "Trevor May's long term best spot".  They could 5 high end prospects at AA knocking on the door, and Trevor May still holds more value as a good 200 inning starter than he does as a reliever.  That value may be to another team, but it does not change the fact they are devaluing their own asset. 

    • Mike Sixel, scottz and Danchat like this
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Nick Nelson
Mar 24 2016 07:44 AM

 

The temporary move bit is nonsense. Santana, Hughes and Gibson aren't going anywhere for the next three years. Berrios and Duffey coming up. Stewart, Thorpe, Jay. And this doesn't include any acquisitions. Where does a spot open up for him?

Sounds to me like an awfully good problem to have! If May turns into a big asset at the back end of the bullpen, and they have enough quality depth in the rotation so as not to need him there... what the hell are we complaining about?

    • Brock Beauchamp, USAFChief, beckmt and 3 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Mar 24 2016 07:55 AM

 

"General manager Terry Ryan is quick to point out that his team's last-place ranking is “a little deceiving” since they received only partial seasons from May and Kevin Jepsen, and Glen Perkins was not himself after the All-Star break."

 

Ahh, pointing out Perkins terrible 2nd half, but failing to mention the 28 innings they did get from Jepsen were farrrr better than can be expected of him this season.  

Jepsen's K-rate with the Twins was lower than his career mark, so... 

    • ThejacKmp and howieramone2 like this
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Willihammer
Mar 24 2016 08:14 AM

Jepsen's K-rate with the Twins was lower than his career mark, so...


Just a tick above his career average- 22.9% with the Twins, vs 22.3% for his career.
http://www.baseball-...e01-pitch.shtml
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Willihammer
Mar 24 2016 08:17 AM
Its too bad Molly didn't have the stones to put Pelfrey in the pen last season, especially with the low expectations for that 2015 teamm, so we would know for sure one way or the other what May's best role is.
    • Mike Sixel, scottz and Sconnie like this

 

Jepsen's K-rate with the Twins was lower than his career mark, so... 

 

His walk rate was also 1.2/ 9 lower than his career average, BABIP was .200 in August, .240 in Sept/Oct, career of .307... 

 

Do you think an ERA of 1.61 and an ERA+ of 261 is a reasonable expectation this year? 

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Nick Nelson
Mar 24 2016 08:25 AM

 

His walk rate was also 1.2/ 9 lower than his career average, BABIP was .200 in August, .240 in Sept/Oct, career of .307... 

 

Do you think an ERA of 1.61 and an ERA+ of 261 is a reasonable expectation this year? 

You realize that the question he was answering was very specifically about strikeouts, right? 

 

 

Just a tick above his career average- 22.9% with the Twins, vs 22.3% for his career.

I was talking K/9 rate but either way Ryan's point was fair. 

 

Sounds to me like an awfully good problem to have! If May turns into a big asset at the back end of the bullpen, and they have enough quality depth in the rotation so as not to need him there... what the hell are we complaining about?

 

Unless those other guys are "good" whereas May could be great.......not saying that is the case, but I think that was the point.

 

You realize that the question he was answering was very specifically about strikeouts, right? 

 

I was talking K/9 rate but either way Ryan's point was fair. 

 

Ryan's point was it wasn't that bad a bullpen, because of a bunch things that were negative, w/o acknowledging that some things actually were better.....I think that is the point some people are making, right? That seems pretty obvious to me.

    • Dman and jimmer like this

 

Ryan's point was it wasn't that bad a bullpen, because of a bunch things that were negative, w/o acknowledging that some things actually were better.....I think that is the point some people are making, right? That seems pretty obvious to me.

 

Yes, I did not notice he was talking K's specifically, my fault.  

 

But my overall point remains what Mike said.  To assume the bullpen is going to be better because Jepsen and May will be there all year, and Perkins might not be a complete disaster in the 2nd half is faulty... because while Perkins might not tank as hard as last year, he also might not be as good as he was in the 1st half.  And Jepsen certainly cannot be expected to have his 2nd half numbers spread over an entire year 

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Nick Nelson
Mar 24 2016 08:42 AM

 

Unless those other guys are "good" whereas May could be great.......not saying that is the case, but I think that was the point.

Could be great. Could be just a decent mid-rotation starter with efficiency issues, as opposed to a top-tier power arm in the bullpen. I'm not sure why everyone is so fixated on the one possibility. It's not like he was an elite starting pitching prospect.
 

 

Ryan's point was it wasn't that bad a bullpen, because of a bunch things that were negative, w/o acknowledging that some things actually were better.....I think that is the point some people are making, right? That seems pretty obvious to me.

TR's point was that their last-place ranking in strikeouts is deceiving as it relates to the current group because their best power arms in the bullpen were absent or ineffective for half the season. The "point" people are making has nothing to do with what he said. 

    • SwainZag, cgreuling and howieramone2 like this

 

TR's point was that their last-place ranking in strikeouts is deceiving as it relates to the current group because their best power arms in the bullpen were absent or ineffective for half the season. The "point" people are making has nothing to do with what he said. 

 

To be fair, if we're simply talking about K's as you said, I'm not sure why Perkins is part of the conversation. His K rate was higher in August, September, October during his struggles. 

    • Mike Sixel and spycake like this

 

Sounds to me like an awfully good problem to have! If May turns into a big asset at the back end of the bullpen, and they have enough quality depth in the rotation so as not to need him there... what the hell are we complaining about?

Yeah, if the rotation is stocked with "quality depth."  But I'm pretty sure Hughes and Santana will be there whether they are good or not that good.  Nolasco seems to still be in the pole position for another spot.  Gibson and Milone probably don't need to improve to keep their spots either.  That's the kind of rotation that you hope repeats 2015 but probably won't improve on it.

 

Could be worse, of course, but it doesn't exactly absolve the handling of May.

    • Mike Sixel, alarp33, Sconnie and 1 other like this

I do agree that having a guy in the bullpen that knows he has 2 good pitches, and will use those to get strikes, is a good plan. Like Duffey maybe.

Luckily the Twins noticed this problem 3 years ago and drafted guys that can strike people out. We should start seeing them this year and I'm excited to see it. Not that they couldn't of signed one more during the offseason, but it's not the end of the world. I'm a lot more worried about the future rotation.

    • Sconnie likes this

So we take the one guy in our rotation that can miss bats, ayoung, talented pitcher and move him to the pen. Then we strip away two of his four pitches.And that is somehow a good thing? If we needed k's in the pen we had other alternatives.Steve Cishek signed for 2-10, 7.8 k per 9 last year, 9.5 for his career.

 

I would be surprised if he gets another start with the Twins, especially if he assumes the same 7th or 8th inning role.

 

May starting = Sano at 3B

    • alarp33 likes this
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howieramone2
Mar 24 2016 09:46 AM

 

So we take the one guy in our rotation that can miss bats, ayoung, talented pitcher and move him to the pen. Then we strip away two of his four pitches.And that is somehow a good thing? If we needed k's in the pen we had other alternatives.Steve Cishek signed for 2-10, 7.8 k per 9 last year, 9.5 for his career.

 

I would be surprised if he gets another start with the Twins, especially if he assumes the same 7th or 8th inning role.

 

May starting = Sano at 3B

May after 25 starts is a 4, and probably our 6th or 7th best starter at this point in time. Sano is 20-25 errors waiting to happen at 3B.

How many times can we have the same tired argument of May as a starter vs. May as a reliever? I was frustrated last season when he was the odd man out, but I really don't get the frustrations going into this season. This was a pretty easy assumption to make in the off-season that he would be in the pen...

 

    • Carole Keller, SwainZag, Dman and 3 others like this

so, they should just give up after 25 starts, and not help someone build for the future? I'm not sure I understand your argument.


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