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  • Twins Say Now Is Not The Time For Trevor May


    Parker Hageman

    Most organizations might view 2015 as an opportunity to have a young starter who has little left to prove at the minor league level to build upon those numbers. Trevor May, however, will not be doing so for Minnesota. Not to start the season anyway.

     

    Are the Twins making the right decision?

    According to ESPN/TruMedia, May’s 9.8 K/9 in September was the ninth-best among all American League pitchers with four starts or more. In all of 2014, with the exception of May, not one Twins starting pitcher managed to eclipse that nine strikeouts per nine innings mark in a single month. His 12% swinging strike rate topped the rotation as well and ranked alongside brand name AL pitchers. On top of that, May was just familiarizing himself with major league opponents. The strikeout-poor Twins starting rotation should be thankful to have found that kind of contributor.

     

    READ: TWINS MAKE CUTS, NAME STARTERS

     

    Instead the Twins decided that the left-handed Tommy Milone made the most sense for the rotation to start the year and opted to have May begin the season in Rochester. While Milone will be tapped to be the fifth starter, general manager Terry Ryan was bursting with complimentary words when he told the media that he was not “displeased with Trevor May either.”

     

    May’s “not displeasing” spring was truncated by a bout with the flu which limited his innings at the beginning of the exhibition season. Nevertheless, in the ten innings of work he struck out nine and walked just two -- a much better K/BB ratio than either Milone or Mike Pelfrey.

     

    READ: TREVOR MAY STATES HIS CASE

     

    The news was a let down for the 25-year-old right-hander. After two consecutive seasons in camp with early reassignments this decision felt different for May.

     

    “It’s completely different because the first cut you feel like you are just there to get your innings and go get your work in. I felt like I have a chance. I feel like this is the level I am going to be at but it’s just not going to be right now.”

     

    Teams cannot make costly decisions based on a body of work that stretches for a month. The strikeout-filled September also contain plenty of issues when hitters did make contact. In addition to the robust strikeout rate, May also had one of the league’s highest hard-hit averages and owned the AL’s highest slugging percentage against. Missing bats is good but elevating pitches and allowing hard contact is not.

     

    In his final start against the Pirates, May was not as stretched out in comparison to his competition. Over 4.2 innings of work, he threw 33 pitches -- his highest total pitch count of the spring. That start also came with loud contact combined with wind-aided extra base hits. Despite the results, May felt good about the process but recognized when the kinetic chain broke down.

     

     

    “I got a little long sometimes and some things flattened out a little bit. Especially elevating,” May said after his final start. “When I was trying to elevate usually that’s has more life than it did. Things stayed a little bit flatter when I would more often than not get bad swings but they squared up pretty good. They got me a couple times.”

     

    After struggling from the stretch in 2014 and refining his mechanics this spring, May felt like he was headed in the right direction. His takeaway from his last start was positive.

     

    “For the most part my body feels under control and I’m definitely happy with the progress I am making in those areas and being able to get ahead of guys and keeping the ball down in the zone, for the most part, has been better than it has been in the past.”

     

    READ: TREVOR MAY AND PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH

     

    One area that May improved upon in 2014 was his ability to control the run game. After allowing 22 stolen bases on 28 attempts in 2013 in New Britain, he allowed just one stolen base in four attempts split between Rochester and the Twins. The attention to runners required additional focus on execution and location on his secondary pitches from the stretch -- something that he felt was progressing well in the spring.

     

    Manager Paul Molitor mentioned that May did not pitch himself out of contention for the spot this spring. It was different variables that played a role in choosing Milone. The message to May for the immediate future was simple.

     

    “Go down and keep working,” said May in regards to the instructions he received from the Twins. “I felt like I made a lot of steps and improved in areas that needed to improvement, composure-wise and poise and being aggressive. That’s how it shakes out sometimes.”

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    Trevor May should keep a bag packed. If any of the starting five falters or gets hurt, May will get the call in about a minute.

    I hope you're right... but I also think that Mike Pelfrey is probably in line for a spot start or two if that happens, a la Anthony Swarzak in years past. May likely will be in AAA for the foreseeable future with bullpen arms the first to get the call to replace big Pelf moving into the rotation to cover a potentially injured or ineffective pitcher.

     

    Hopefully the Twins find a trade suitor for Pelfrey and this is a mute point before opening day.

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    From some of the quotes it sounds like like May didnt get a fair shot. Seems they had their mind on Milone from the start.

    What a bummer.

    May missed time early in camp because of the flu and only got 10 innings of work.  And the one thing to note on Milone from Paul Molitor "the staff was impressed by his ability to “minimize” damage.“  My gut feeling is sometime around mid-season, a couple teams with an injured starter or 2 will come a-call-in' for Milone and Pelfry.  I have faith in Molitor.

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    Like their decisions in the outfield, the call on the pitching rotation reflects a commitment to reliable assets over big upsides or loyalty to players. May is still young and has room for improvement. Milone, while not flashy, is a reliable pitcher who knows how to avoid the big inning. Seems like an easy decision.

     

    As for Pelfrey, what right does he have to expect a starting job after the last 2 years? He has to prove that he can be relied upon in that role. A 13 inning sample size in ST is not nearly enough to justify that kind of decision.

     

    It is a long season and both May and Pelfrey will have the opportunity to start. These decisions are about putting together a coherent and consistent everyday lineup. There may be a point this season when the Twins will mine the minors to see what they have. Opening day is not the time to do it.

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    Milone was the guy going in and he is the guy coming out. They probably always were going to toss Hicks in AAA as well. I don't really mind not relying on ST stuff on the field.

    But May and Hicks should be with the Twins. The replacements for them are *bad* and with no upside for any future with the team. Hopefully this all gets corrected by May 15 or so.

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    This is why companies get and use earnings reports. If the projections are not favorable, they take steps that are in the companies future best interest. Target's not popular with employees or consumers of their stores due to layoffs, but it is the best for the future of the company.

     

    Ryan's blind optimism or desperation is causing him to year after year ignore the projections. Going in each of the last several years, the team has operated like they expect to compete, in what appears, at least in part, to be an attempt make the employees and consumers happy at the expense of meeting future goals.

    Edited by nicksaviking
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    Ryan's blind optimism or desperation is causing him to year after year ignore the projections. Going in each of the last several years, the team has operated like they expect to compete, in what appears, at least in part, to be an attempt make the employees and consumers happy.

    I would argue the opposite.  Ryan's keeping a level head and basing his decisions on a bunch of important factors.  He saw that Meyer's control is really bad right now.  He understood that you use more than 5 starters in a season so who is on your April 5 roster isn't that important.  He probably wanted Hicks to win CF but saw that he's still not hitting and decided to go with two guys who will probably hit as well and probably play better defense.

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      He probably wanted Hicks to win CF but saw that he's still not hitting and decided to go with two guys who will probably hit as well and probably play better defense.

    Well I've nearly given up on Hicks so I'm basically on Buxton watch it this point, but playing Schaffer, Robinson and Hunter do nothing to help the future. My frustration lies mostly with the May situation. Overlooking the notion that he actually may have been the best of the three this spring, it shouldn't matter who is the best person for the job now, the projections for the club this year are bleak. It should matter who is best for the future, and letting May work out his issues now, so he's better down the road is best for the future.

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    I am NOT OK with th CF situation in the least. But I can almost understand the end result...for now...considering the players involved; Buxton & Rosario simply not ready and Hicks doing nothing to grab the job and hopefully/probably in need of some AAA time/experience/success.

     

    I am far, far less OK with the Milone decision. I get May will flash inconsistency at times. And I get that he unfortunately missed time early on during ST. But don't argue SSS with me on May this spring. There is still time for another start for everyone before opening day, a decision didn't have to be made yet, May showed real improvement last season, and a SSS this spring might not prove May is ready, but it also shouldn't be used to prove Milone is somehow a changed man from last season either.

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    In his final start against the Pirates, May was not as stretched out in comparison to his competition. Over 4.2 innings of work, he threw 33 pitches -- his highest total pitch count of the spring.

     

    That is something that I have really not paying much attention to, and it really makes sense.  If May is stretched to 60-70 pitches by opening day (and if he was up to the 40s by that start, cannot see him getting much higher by OD,) he cannot really be ready to produce in the majors.  Maybe that was a big decision point, but I'd rather see them say it, instead of lying and saying that Milone won a "competition".

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    Guess that's how they feel then.  Might see Trevor in August early September if were lucky.  Meyer..... maybe next season.  Gotta let Milone, Nolasco and Pelfrey earn EVERY ONE OF THOSE DOLLARS.  Disgusting.

    Edited by laloesch
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    It's like the Twins brass can't decide if they want to compete now, or build for the future. Because of that, they try to strike a balance between the two, and end up doing neither.

     

    They call up Arcia, Vargas, and Santana, and get production--future

     

    They sign Torii Hunter, despite the fact he worsens an already bad center field--now

     

    They seriously consider Trevor May for the rotation--future

     

    They go with Tommy Milone instead, who was not good last year, and showed no reason to be optimistic for change in spring training--now

     

    I'm getting so tired of this team continually running out tired old veterans with little to no upside, and zero chance of being on the next division-winning team (Hunter, Milone, Robinson, Stauffer). For once, just let kids who might be part of the future play, so we can find out what we actually have.

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    May got rocked in his last start, and yeah he has great strikeout totals but guys are hitting him, hard.  So it is probably better to have him, like you said work out his issues now in AAA.  I don't necessarily think that getting rocked in April and being sent down in June is the best thing for a young player, a la Hicks.

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    After Molitor's comments about Hicks (“I think the bottom line was he didn’t perform particularly well.”), I believe Hicks was sent to AAA to see if there's any chase he can hit at a higher level.  Recent history says, no.  At the end of the year, I'm expecting Hicks will not only NOT get a Sept. call-up, I'm expecting him to be released.  Having Schaefer and Robinson on your MLB roster as CF's is pretty damning evidence.

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    After Molitor's comments about Hicks (“I think the bottom line was he didn’t perform particularly well.”), I believe Hicks was sent to AAA to see if there's any chase he can hit at a higher level.  Recent history says, no.  At the end of the year, I'm expecting Hicks will not only NOT get a Sept. call-up, I'm expecting him to be released.  Having Schaefer and Robinson on your MLB roster as CF's is pretty damning evidence.

    Yeah I don't think it was all even just Hicks hitting that got him.  I think he didn't field particularly well either.

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    May is not young.

     

    And neither is Meyer.  Both are 25/26.  Guess the Twins have decided that they can wait a couple more years with both.    

     

    Rosario, Polanco, Buxton, May, Meyer all sent down in favor of the Mike Pelfrey's, Tommy Milone's, Shane Robinson's, and other washed up mediocre veterans......yep that's the Twins.  Gotta love it.

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    I am NOT OK with th CF situation in the least. But I can almost understand the end result...for now...considering the players involved; Buxton & Rosario simply not ready and Hicks doing nothing to grab the job and hopefully/probably in need of some AAA time/experience/success.

     

    I am far, far less OK with the Milone decision. I get May will flash inconsistency at times. And I get that he unfortunately missed time early on during ST. But don't argue SSS with me on May this spring. There is still time for another start for everyone before opening day, a decision didn't have to be made yet, May showed real improvement last season, and a SSS this spring might not prove May is ready, but it also shouldn't be used to prove Milone is somehow a changed man from last season either.

    this 100%. I think May is going to triple a because he isn't stretched out enough to start the season, but there is still some time.
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    May is not young.

     

     

    The average age of MLB pitchers is 28.5. 

     

    25 is younger than 28.5.

     

    25 is young compared to the average.

     

    Your point is valid though. May has had plenty of experience and is probably on the older "young" side of things.

     

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    The average age of MLB pitchers is 28.5. 

     

    25 is younger than 28.5.

     

    25 is young compared to the average.

     

    Your point is valid though. May has had plenty of experience and is probably on the older "young" side of things.

    That includes pitchers like Colon and some of those guys at 28.5 have been in the majors for many years, like King Felix. I think the age discussion has more to do with rookies.

     

    What's the average age of a pitcher that loses his rookie status?  How about pitchers who are top prospects, like Meyer?  Were these guys touted as better than average, especially Meyer?

     

    I just thought about this.  Seems King Felix has been around a long time.  He's just about to turn 29.

    Edited by jimmer
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    I haven't seen much talk on when the 5th starter will be needed.  I know that early in the season you can usually skip that 5th starter anyway.  Not that we need to keep May down for more team control but if he isn't going to pitch for the Twins why not continue to stretch him out at AA and actually let him pitch?  

     

    Clearly if Meyer or May were ready in the next month we've got a log-jam in the rotation.  I mean is it really a log-jam if Milone, Ricky N or anyone else is falling apart?  I imagine Hughes/Santana are off limits but if Gibson has a bad month is he safe?  Assuming that someone is tearing it up in AAA.  

     

    At the same time how much do we put on the staff and how much do we put on the defense?  Especially the outfield defense.  

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