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Front Page: A Revamped Approach Has Made All The Difference For Trevor May

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#1 Andrew Thares

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 09:47 AM

Trevor May had high expectations to help lead the Minnesota Twins bullpen, coming into the 2019 season. However, the entire narrative changed for Trevor May after what amounted to three straight poor performances, coming out of the All-Star Break, that caused Twins fans to lose almost all faith in him whatsoever. This caused Trevor May to go back to the drawing board to figure out what was going wrong, and what came out as a result has morphed him back into the dominate reliever that we all expected him to be.During the first half of the season, Trevor May was one of the more reliable options coming out of the Twins bullpen. At the All-Star Break, May had posted a 3.06 ERA, and was holding opposing hitters to a .596 OPS. Once play started in the second half, it quickly fell apart for Trevor May. It started with him giving up a costly, go-ahead home run, to Carlos Santana, late in the game against the Cleveland Indians. He followed that up, his next time out, by giving up a three-run home run to Dominic Smith, when the Twins were holding a 3 to 2 lead in the seventh inning. In both instances, the opposing hitter took Trevor May deep on a braking ball that he failed to get down and out of the zone. In his next outing after that, Trevor May failed to protect a 5 to 3 Twins lead late in the game, against the Oakland Athletics, and just like that all the good work he had done all season, was seemingly erased.

Over the two weeks, following those performances, Trevor May made just two appearances, as it appeared that the Twins were giving Trevor May some time to get himself right. That plan has paid off big time for the Twins. Since that mini-break, Trevor May has morphed himself into a whole new pitcher. In the month of August, Trevor May allowed just one run, and had a 19 to 3 strikeout to walk ratio across 13 and 1/3 innings pitched. As a result, hitters had a staggeringly low .363 OPS against Trevor May, over that time.

So, what has made all of the difference for Trevor May? While many people have pointed out that he seems to be throwing his fastball harder of late, that really isn’t the case. In the month of August, his average four-seam fastball velocity was 96.0 MPH on the nose, which is actually slightly down from the 96.5 MPH he was averaging in July. The real difference with Trevor May hasn’t been the velocity of his fastball, but rather, the frequency of use of his fastball. From April through June, Trevor May threw his fastball 61 percent of the time. In July, that frequency dipped, down to just 54 percent of the time, as Trevor May was focusing more on the use of his slider. However, since the beginning of August, Trevor May has all but scratched that mindset, and is now rearing back and challenging opposing hitters with his fastball at a 71 percent clip.

Download attachment: Trevor May Fastball Pitch Percent.PNG

When you consider Trevor May is as a pitcher, this bulldog style approach makes a lot of sense for him. Among the 160 pitchers who have thrown at least, 500 four-seam fastball this season, on Giovanny Gallego has a better wOBA allowed on his four-seamer than Trevor May’s 0.228. That just shows how effective of a weapon Trevor May’s four-seam fastball really is.

If Trevor May can continue to have this much success against opposing hitters, he will make a great addition to Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Sam Dyson and Tyler Duffey as established and reliable relievers down the stretch and into the Postseason. Not only will this give Rocco Baldelli plenty of options to get outs, but it will take some of the pressure off the starting rotation to go deep into games.

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#2 Bomba2026


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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:03 PM

Remember the game where he threw 1 pitch and won the game? He has been a lot better since then....

#3 Trevor0333


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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:09 PM

The other factor in higher FB usage is less use of the curve. His curve used to have a really nice 12-6 break & he could usually place it well for the amount of movement.

Especially this season his curve looks more like a hanging change up.

#4 Doomtints


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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:46 PM

May has had good runs before. In my eyes he's gotta do this for a full year before I can believe a new approach helped.

Twins Manifesto: Build for .500, hope for more.

#5 Patrick Wozniak

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 07:25 PM

It makes a lot of sense to mainly rely on your best pitch, especially when it's getting the kind of results May is getting. With May going well it gives the Twins five good relievers plus the addition of Graterol, which bodes well for the postseason.

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#6 Trov


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Posted 02 September 2019 - 10:00 AM

I think May needs to have the approach, throw it until this hit it.I hate when a pitcher is over powering or making a hitter look foolish, then they overthink it and try to throw something different.Happen with Santana, forget the color guy, think it was Morris, but he said on 0-2 throw the FB again, he was over powered, and the curve got hung.  


When Buxton, and many others, were struggling against the slider low and away swinging every time, I was thinking why would a pitcher ever throw something else?Until the hitter shows they will not chase it, throw it.  

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