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Article: Trevor May and First Pitch Strikes

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#1 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:12 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...t-Pitch-Strikes
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#2 claryad

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 09:44 AM

Great info. Thanks for posting.

#3 cmathewson

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:00 AM

Great job. I too am high on him. You can't teach velocity, and he has a great change-up, which is a pitch that is tough to learn.

#4 jharaldson

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:20 AM

[COLOR=#3E3E3E]I don't expect that Trevor May will be a 1 or 2 starter on the next Twins playoff team. I do, however, see him as a reliable starter that can strike out double digits in a game -- keep in mind he did lead the Eastern League in strikeouts last season.[/COLOR]


Some other stats to look at:

Number of seasons at AA = 2
ERA rank = 65th out of 82 qualified
August ERA = 6.27

He has some nice secondary stats (K%) and some crappy ones (BB%) but the end result is he repeated a grade, didn't dominate, and finished weak. He may turn out to be decent but my money is on him not even giving us 1 WAR in his career.

#5 Dantes929

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:43 PM

His K rate tells me he has some good stuff which makes me wonder why you already are putting a ceiling on him. Perhaps when he has 0-1 he gets too cautious and soon falls behind in the count. If he is aiming for corners on 1st pitch getting a high % might indicate a lack of control that day rather than otherwise. I would prefer he get 1st strike pitches but overall strike ratio is probably more relevant with him.

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 03:26 PM

He was in the deal because he lost his shine, and there were beginning to be doubts about him. Some look at last year and see progress, some look at last year and see confirmation of the doubts. I have no idea, other than my optimism was not increased last year.
Lighten up Francis....

#7 Shane Wahl

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:39 AM

I am surprised that there aren't more comments on this. This is very helpful in understanding May's situation and what needs to happen. I think some of the above comments miss the point entirely.

I have to wonder if the Twins, like, know the content of your article here.

#8 cmathewson

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:32 AM

August ERA = 6.27


Not a fan of pulling out one bad month and using that against players or pitchers. Most players have a bad month per year. Dead arm. Injuries they play through. Stuff happens. Let's not cherry pick to prove a point. His overall numbers in his second AA year were better. Not as much progress as I would like to see, but better. His numbers from the AFL were encouraging. Let's see what he can do at AAA.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#9 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 09:35 AM

I am surprised that there aren't more comments on this. This is very helpful in understanding May's situation and what needs to happen. I think some of the above comments miss the point entirely.

I have to wonder if the Twins, like, know the content of your article here.


Thanks, Shane. I have to admit, this is probably one of the least exciting articles on TwinsDaily now, but I think the point is really important. Especially when people talk about May eventually ending up in the bullpen. Frankly, he might not be very effective as a reliever if he's falling behind nearly half the batters.

Someone want to email DSP this link? Lol. I'm sure the Twins are aware. Well, mostly sure.
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#10 old nurse

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:27 AM

Yu Darvish did just fine last year with a low FS%. Phil Hughes did not do fine with a high FS%. It is like most statistics in baseball not necessarily the accurate statistic to define success of a pitcher. Statistics that weigh in many factors attempt to correct, but that is a different thread.
It would be worth noting that a 52.9% FS will generally not get many people excited about you as a starting pitcher unless you are Tom Glavine or Sam Deduno.
Control and command are areas that May needs to work on. Multiple statistics will point that out.
In terms of the significance of FS% and slash lines. Eyeballing statistics from the leaderboard, the better the slash line the lower FS% thrown to them. It becomes a chicken or egg. Does having a FS cause poor hitting or does poor hitting lead to seeing a higher FS%

#11 ashburyjohn

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:07 PM

That chicken and egg question is a good one. The slash lines for first pitch strikes could be skewed by the willingness of the guys with elite arms to not nibble, for instance; that by itself does not prove a direct link saying a guy with a lesser arm will necessarily do better by throwing more strikes, beyond a certain bare threshold of course.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:18 PM

Isn't the problem with May "any pitch" strikes? As in, he can't throw strikes consistently at any point in the count?
Lighten up Francis....

#13 Shane Wahl

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:37 PM

Thanks, Shane. I have to admit, this is probably one of the least exciting articles on TwinsDaily now, but I think the point is really important. Especially when people talk about May eventually ending up in the bullpen. Frankly, he might not be very effective as a reliever if he's falling behind nearly half the batters.

Someone want to email DSP this link? Lol. I'm sure the Twins are aware. Well, mostly sure.



I don't think it is anywhere near the least exciting and it certainly is near the top in most informative.

#14 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:58 PM

Yu Darvish did just fine last year with a low FS%. Phil Hughes did not do fine with a high FS%. It is like most statistics in baseball not necessarily the accurate statistic to define success of a pitcher. Statistics that weigh in many factors attempt to correct, but that is a different thread.
It would be worth noting that a 52.9% FS will generally not get many people excited about you as a starting pitcher unless you are Tom Glavine or Sam Deduno.
Control and command are areas that May needs to work on. Multiple statistics will point that out.
In terms of the significance of FS% and slash lines. Eyeballing statistics from the leaderboard, the better the slash line the lower FS% thrown to them. It becomes a chicken or egg. Does having a FS cause poor hitting or does poor hitting lead to seeing a higher FS%


Thanks for the comment. Darvish is interesting. Even though it's not that high compared to a lot of other "reliable" starters, his first pitch strike % was 5-6% higher than May's, and Darvish's stuff is a lot better. So even if Darvish is a little wild, he's got that strikeout ability, and also can throw 120 pitches in a start (like all the Texas guys apparently have to).
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#15 oldguy10

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 09:29 AM

It appears that 120 pitches in a start is required in Texas, why is that not so in Minnesota? Isn't their standard about 100? No wonder the Twins need so many relief pitchers in any given season.

#16 jokin

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 10:11 AM

Some other stats to look at:

Number of seasons at AA = 2
ERA rank = 65th out of 82 qualified
August ERA = 6.27

He has some nice secondary stats (K%) and some crappy ones (BB%) but the end result is he repeated a grade, didn't dominate, and finished weak. He may turn out to be decent but my money is on him not even giving us 1 WAR in his career.


At this point, I think there is still room to be just a little more optimistic than a net 1 career WAR guy in May- but this year in AAA he has to step it up, no doubt.

You mentioned his ERA ranking, but that stat is a little skewed by May being victimized by a big jump in BABIP to .330 and a huge spike in stolen bases given up by Rock Cats' catchers. And despite that 45th ranking in ERA, his FIP was actually a very good-to near-dominant 9th in the Eastern League and 3/4 of a run below his ERA at 3.79, confirmed by an also-excellent SIERA of 3.67, indicating that there might be an improved year coming up.

Also of note, besides his upticks in improvement in K/9 and BB/9, May was a definitely dominant 3rd overall in the Eastern League in K% at 24.1%, which is excellent.

Finally, year-over-year, with the above-noted improvements and no regressions of note, May also significantly cut his LD% from 21.4% in 2012 to 12.9%.

I think there's back-end starter stuff somewhere inside of May, I think there's a case to made that it's all a matter of his mental approach, hopefully the Twins coaching staff can help bring it out to the point that he becomes a legitimate depth option by the end of 2014. In conclusion, I don't think it's unreasonable to say he's no more than 50-50 at ever being a major league starter.

Edited by jokin, 14 March 2014 - 10:15 AM.


#17 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 10:33 AM

It appears that 120 pitches in a start is required in Texas, why is that not so in Minnesota? Isn't their standard about 100? No wonder the Twins need so many relief pitchers in any given season.


Do you suppose the Pohlads could lure Nolan Ryan up here to get our pitching straightened out!

#18 tobi0040

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 10:38 AM

At this point, I think there is still room to be just a little more optimistic than a net 1 career WAR guy in May- but this year in AAA he has to step it up, no doubt.

You mentioned his ERA ranking, but that stat is a little skewed by May being victimized by a big jump in BABIP to .330 and a huge spike in stolen bases given up by Rock Cats' catchers. And despite that 45th ranking in ERA, his FIP was actually a very good-to near-dominant 9th in the Eastern League and 3/4 of a run below his ERA at 3.79, confirmed by an also-excellent SIERA of 3.67, indicating that there might be an improved year coming up.

Also of note, besides his upticks in improvement in K/9 and BB/9, May was a definitely dominant 3rd overall in the Eastern League in K% at 24.1%, which is excellent.

Finally, year-over-year, with the above-noted improvements and no regressions of note, May also significantly cut his LD% from 21.4% in 2012 to 12.9%.

I think there's back-end starter stuff somewhere inside of May, I think there's a case to made that it's all a matter of his mental approach, hopefully the Twins coaching staff can help bring it out to the point that he becomes a legitimate depth option by the end of 2014. In conclusion, I don't think it's unreasonable to say he's no more than 50-50 at ever being a major league starter.


I find myself higher on May than most as well. No doubt that he would benefit more than anyone else in the organization by improving his control.

But looking into his numbers in more detail, he was really hurt by two very bad starts last year (8 ER each). Here are his numbers if you take those two starts out, in the other 26 starts:

144 IP, 3.75 ERA, 155 K These are very good numbers.

Here is his distribution of ER by start. He is keeping his team in games and pitching very well in half his starts (0-2 ER):

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

In those two bad starts, he totally lost his control (8 BB in 6.2 IP). His BB/9 goes from 3.96 to 3.68 if you remove those two starts.

In 2012, a similar theme. He had a start with 7 ER and two with 6 ER. In the 7 ER start he had 8 BB over 5 IP.

His 2012 numbers for a comp, throwing out his worst two starts were:

143 IP, 4.28 ERA, 144K.

So he did have a significant improvement in my opinion from 2012 to 2013 (4.28 ERA to 3.75 ERA in 90%+ of his starts)


http://www.fangraphs...n=2013&sort=3,d

Edited by tobi0040, 14 March 2014 - 10:48 AM.


#19 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 04:46 PM

I find myself higher on May than most as well. No doubt that he would benefit more than anyone else in the organization by improving his control.

But looking into his numbers in more detail, he was really hurt by two very bad starts last year (8 ER each). Here are his numbers if you take those two starts out, in the other 26 starts:

144 IP, 3.75 ERA, 155 K These are very good numbers.

Here is his distribution of ER by start. He is keeping his team in games and pitching very well in half his starts (0-2 ER):

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

In those two bad starts, he totally lost his control (8 BB in 6.2 IP). His BB/9 goes from 3.96 to 3.68 if you remove those two starts.

In 2012, a similar theme. He had a start with 7 ER and two with 6 ER. In the 7 ER start he had 8 BB over 5 IP.

His 2012 numbers for a comp, throwing out his worst two starts were:

143 IP, 4.28 ERA, 144K.

So he did have a significant improvement in my opinion from 2012 to 2013 (4.28 ERA to 3.75 ERA in 90%+ of his starts)


http://www.fangraphs...n=2013&sort=3,d


Good stuff. Yea, those 2 starts were really awful. Of course, they have to be considered along with the good starts, but it is useful, I think, to at least point out how much even a couple lousy starts over the course of a long season can affect stats.
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