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  • Trevor May: Still Hopeful

    Tonight's game was a laugher. No real offense to speak of for New Britain until the game was well out of hand. In fact, it's not even worth discussing Sano or Rosario (on offense, at least, where they were non-factors). Let's get right to what's worth covering tonight: Trevor May, and New Britain's defense.

    I've seen Trevor May pitch probably 3 or 4 times this season. I'd be lying if I said that May hasn't been frustrating, or that the Twins really pulled one over on the Phillies. Don't get me wrong -- May has been OK -- but not fantastic any means. Control problems have plagued him. Tonight, though, was not a bad outing, despite what the box score will tell you. May started off the game hitting 92-94 on his fastball, 83ish with the change-up, and upper 70s or lower 80s with a nice curve.


    Originally published at Twins Fan From Afar

    May lasted 5 and 2/3 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits; he took the loss. He also struck out 9 and walked only 1 -- the last hitter he faced. On the night, he threw 107 pitches, 75 of them for strikes. In fact, perhaps he was a little too accurate, or threw too many strikes, leading to the 10 hits? He threw strike 1 to the majority of batters, consistently working ahead in the count. He changed speeds, and got a fair number of weakly hit pitches that were either choppers or pop-outs. In short, he did what you would coach any pitcher to do. The results just weren't there. But there's more to the story than that.

    New Hampshire's first run of the game, in the second inning, came partially as the result of an infield chopper up the middle that died behind the mound. The next batter hit a well struck opposite field double to right center. Just like that, 1-0 New Hampshire. In the third inning, a 2-out, 2-strike opposite field solo homer may have rattled May, as he gave up a single past Sano to the next batter, but then worked out of the jam.

    Aside from these hiccups and despite the runs allowed, May pitched to, generally, what his ceiling should be: low/no walks; the ability to strike guys out; and the ability to induce weakly hit balls by changing speeds. Of the hits he gave up, probably 5 were well struck, 3 were extremely weak (i.e., choppers or flares), and a couple were average.

    The fateful 6th inning started with a pop-up behind second base that went for a single (good argument for the "team error" category) after Eddie Rosario and Danny Santana either didn't communicate, or miscommunicated. Thereafter, a clean single, an out (a fantastic diving play by Miguel Sano), a double that Jordan Parraz just missed in CF (which then rolled to the wall) scored 2 more runs. And that was it for May.

    That pop-up behind second base felt worse than a lead-off walk. It was deflating, in fact. You just knew that it was going to be the death knell for May, who already was tiring.

    May deserved better this evening. Was he perfect? No. But it's important to note that 2 of the 4 runs were partially a result of infield singles -- one of which was really a "team error" type of play. And there was no offensive support, either. Sure, you can't take away infield singles, and sure, team errors happen, but I only count 2 things that went May's way this evening (Daniel Ortiz making a great play to throw out a runner headed to second, and Miguel Sano making a nice diving stop and strong throw to save a hit), while a few things definitely went the other way. It was 4 earned runs. It easily could (should?) have been 2 or 3, and May could (should?) have been able to complete 6 innings. Honestly, it's a strange, strange start to strike out 9 and walk 1 and not be able to make it through 6 innings.

    I hope people aren't ready to relegate May to the bullpen for his career. Look at tonight's start: 100+ pitches, still hitting 92 on the gun on his fastball when he came out. 9 Ks; 1 walk (on his last batter when he was gassed). The ERA doesn't support it, but I would absolutely argue that May has been better this year than last. Sure, it's not ideal that he's repeating -- and not dominating -- AA, but there has been improvement. His walks per 9 innings have decreased about .5 walks per game; Ks per 9 are consistent; HRs allowed per 9 have decreased a little; but hits per 9 have increased.

    Kyle Gibson, who just debuted a couple months ago, is 25. May is still 23 for another month. Let's not talk about May as if he's a Chris Colabello-esque journeyman. Sure, Gibson was delayed as a result of Tommy John surgery and recovery, but my point is only that May isn't "old," even if he is repeating AA. I'm still hopeful that he can figure it out; it just May take a little while longer than Twins fans would prefer.

    ************************************************** *****************
    One final note. I'm having a Twitter contest to win a Rock Cats Joe Mauer bobblehead that was just given away in New Britain a few weeks ago. Of course, you have to be on Twitter and following me to enter.
    Go here for details.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trevor May: Still Hopeful started by Twins Fan From Afar
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I hope nobody is ready to give up on May in the rotation. If nothing else, he's shown progress this season. He has the stuff to make it as a starter and I hope the Twins are showing him the right things to groom him. Progress could be better, but I'd give him a while longer before pulling him from the rotation.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Sure, Gibson was delayed as a result of Tommy John surgery and recovery, but my point is only that May isn't "old," even if he is repeating AA.
      A question for the more sabrmetric set - does age really matter much for pitchers? Does it matter much is a guy debuts in MLB as a 24-year-old or a 26-year-old if he's a pitcher? An studies on this?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Not sure John, but if people think signing a 31 year old is a bad idea, that would suggest starting earlier would be better.....

      I doubt anyone has given up on him, but it is a bummer he has not progressed as much as we all thought he might this year. He clearly has some very good to great stuff, I remain hopeful.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      So it seems that the hits/9 is the issue. Thank you for the breakdown of the hits from last night. What is being said are the overall issues on that stat? Is his fastball straight? Is it location? It would be interesting to hear opinions on this because if he is strong enough to throw in the 90s after he passes 100 pitches, changes speeds, establishes first-pitch strikes (something Gibson does not do!), and strikes out so many people, one would think he would have more success. Thanks for the article.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      I'm not giving up on him. Certainly he has a high ceiling. Unfortunately he also has a low floor.
      I just don't see a 3rd pitch needed to be a starter.
      He's got a great fastball, and an ok changeup, but at what age do you stop waiting for that 3rd pitch to develop and decide it's best to move him to the bullpen?
      It's nice that he only walked 1 last night, but for the season the walks have still been a pretty big issue.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I'm not giving up on him. Certainly he has a high ceiling. Unfortunately he also has a low floor.
      I just don't see a 3rd pitch needed to be a starter.
      He's got a great fastball, and an ok changeup, but at what age do you stop waiting for that 3rd pitch to develop and decide it's best to move him to the bullpen?
      It's nice that he only walked 1 last night, but for the season the walks have still been a pretty big issue.
      I would agree with this. I personally would give him another 4 months before moving to the pen. He does have the skillset to be a potential closer so there is something to fall back upon.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I'm not giving up on him. Certainly he has a high ceiling. Unfortunately he also has a low floor.
      I just don't see a 3rd pitch needed to be a starter.
      He's got a great fastball, and an ok changeup, but at what age do you stop waiting for that 3rd pitch to develop and decide it's best to move him to the bullpen?.
      Even the bullpen will be tough if he doesn't have a breaking ball. Changing speeds is good but you need movement to succeed in the majors.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I'm not giving up on him. Certainly he has a high ceiling. Unfortunately he also has a low floor.
      I just don't see a 3rd pitch needed to be a starter.
      He's got a great fastball, and an ok changeup, but at what age do you stop waiting for that 3rd pitch to develop and decide it's best to move him to the bullpen?
      It's nice that he only walked 1 last night, but for the season the walks have still been a pretty big issue.
      The closer idea seems exciting. If he can throw in the low 90s after 100 pitches then how hard could he throw for 1 inning? That said, it is still really early. Closers can be found; they need to continue working the path to being and MLB starting pitcher. Even if it took a few years, I think it would be worth it.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I'd give him all of next year to be a starter. If not, then I'd probably go to high leverage reliever.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I'd give him all of next year to be a starter. If not, then I'd probably go to high leverage reliever.
      That sounds like a reasonable timeline to me.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I'd probably give him till he runs out of options to be a starter. It's not hard to stash a guy in the pen and develop him. The potential of a front line ace though is well worth the patience.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I'd probably give him till he runs out of options to be a starter. It's not hard to stash a guy in the pen and develop him. The potential of a front line ace though is well worth the patience.
      I don't know....did they wait until Nathan and Perkins were out of options? At some point, you need to get years of value from a player.....and then trade him just before he loses value....
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I don't know....did they wait until Nathan and Perkins were out of options? At some point, you need to get years of value from a player.....and then trade him just before he loses value....
      I think this is an important point. May strikes me as one of the guys most likely to be dealt to augment the next wave with established talent. So is he more valuable as a high risk, struggling starter or a low risk, lights out reliever in AAA?

      i think I know my vote, but I give him another year with our coaches first.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      These are interesting comments. I have just done a search and did not find the data on May's contract. Does anybody have the detail? I want to know how much time the Twins have left before he is out of options. Thank you.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      These are interesting comments. I have just done a search and did not find the data on May's contract. Does anybody have the detail? I want to know how much time the Twins have left before he is out of options. Thank you.
      I believe this is May's first season on the 40 man roster.
      That means the soonest that we would have to pass him through waivers would be coming out of spring training in 2016.

      There are exceptions, but in general you have a maximum of 8 seasons for HS draft picks, and 7 seasons for college draft picks before they have to be exposed to waivers.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I don't know....did they wait until Nathan and Perkins were out of options? At some point, you need to get years of value from a player.....and then trade him just before he loses value....
      Not sure Nathan applies. He was a trade from SF and was already a reliever at that point. As for Perk, I'm not sure. He got bounced around quite a bit when he first came up. I don't remember if he was out... Of note, he also miserably failed as a starter, something May has not yet done. His ERA isn't spectacular, but the peripherals are trending in the right direction.. I'd expect he starts in AAA next year as as stater.
    1. jdotmcmahon's Avatar
      jdotmcmahon -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      A question for the more sabrmetric set - does age really matter much for pitchers? Does it matter much is a guy debuts in MLB as a 24-year-old or a 26-year-old if he's a pitcher? An studies on this?
      Primary concern regarding debut age of pitchers is velocity. Research done by Bill Petti and Jeff Zimmerman at FG suggests that velo peaks in early 20s and starts steadily declining at age 26, with decline increasingly steep into 30s. Obviously velocity isn't everything, but it's pretty significant for most pitchers. Given that May is a guy that relies on his fastball, the sooner he is up the better.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      Even the bullpen will be tough if he doesn't have a breaking ball. Changing speeds is good but you need movement to succeed in the majors.
      Huh? I heard (it is even described as "Nice" in the article) that May's curveball is at least his 2nd if not best pitch. I'm wondering if he needs a 4th pitch- like a Casey Fien-like cutter for example.

      A little off subject: is anyone concerned with our coaches in New Britian?
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      I wouldn't even consider moving him to the pen in the near future. The Twins need starting pitching so bad, it would be a huge disappointment if May fails. I would start him in AAA, and give him two years to prove himself.

      Just wanted to mention, his BABIP is .342 on the year, a good bit higher than previous years. Might be why he's given up so many hits.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by orangevening View Post
      Huh? I heard (it is even described as "Nice" in the article) that May's curveball is at least his 2nd if not best pitch. I'm wondering if he needs a 4th pitch- like a Casey Fien-like cutter for example.

      A little off subject: is anyone concerned with our coaches in New Britian?
      I've never watched May pitch but so far he is putting up reverse-platoon splits. Which suggests to me his changeup is getting lefties out but the breaking ball isn't working as well against same-handed batters.

      Trevor May at Minor League Central
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