Trevor May has been pitching in the Minnesota Twins bullpen for the past two seasons. However, some recent statements indicate that his goal is to get back into the starting rotation.
It was just prior to the start of the 2012 regular season that Minnesota Twins pitching prospect, Trevor May, was ranked as one of the best young hurlers in baseball. Ranked inside the top 70 by Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, expectations were high for the former 2008 fourth round selection.
Yet, the young right-hander didn’t make his debut until 2014. It was a rough introduction to say the least.
In nine starts, May posted an ERA of over 8.00 while also allowing over 11 hits per nine innings. He also was victimized by the walk, giving up over 4.0 free passes per nine innings pitched.
This tough debut contributed to the Twins shifting May into being more of a reliever, especially with the Twins in the middle of a wild card race. His time throwing in high stress innings showed just how effective the righty could be in the bullpen.
May finished that season with an ERA of exactly 4.00, showing increased success in the appearances in which he came out of the bullpen. His walk rate decreased by over two walks per game, and his FIP sat at an impressive 3.25 by year’s end.
May was still allowing too many hits per contest (10.0 H/9), but this was a considerable improvement.
He opened with this past season with more of a defined role in the bullpen. The 27 year-old appeared in 44 games, all of which came in a relief role. May even was able to finish double-digit contests with incumbent Twins closer out with an injury for most of 2016.
His 5.27 ERA may seem a little high, but some of his other numbers indicate that he has shown a considerable amount of progression. His nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings jumps off the page as May was never really apt at getting an elite amount of swings and misses, even in the minors. He also decreased his hit rate by nearly two points in 2016. His season was plagued by a stress fracture in his back.
Minnesota still hasn’t added much relief pitching this offseason, so May was expected to take on a similar role as he did last year. However, the former top prospect may have his eyes on winning a spot in the Twins’ starting rotation.
May told Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Pitching with a set routine, with four days off between starts, that’s going to make it easier to stay healthy,” he said. “When you don’t know when you’ll pitch, it’s a lot harder to get into a routine that will protect your back.”
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“[Falvey] seems really sincere about it,” May continued. “He said they want to get the best out of players, and I believe I can help us immensely by throwing 200 innings. I’m not saying I have to have an amazing spring, by any means, but I have to show I’m ready to go. I have a starter’s mind-set that I can throw all my pitches right away. … If the health is there, I feel like I can slide in there.”
May has obviously seen a typical increase in velocity since his switch to the bullpen. If he does move back into the rotation, the former top prospect will probably be back working in the low 90s. Still, the righty does offer a four pitch mix that includes a slider, curveball and changeup. Expect May to utilize more of his offerings if he gets a chance to start. He certainly won’t be throwing his fastball over 60 percent of the time as he did last year.
Another top pitching prospect, Jose Berrios, struggled mightily during his time in the big leagues last season, so it’s certainly possible that with a strong spring, May (may) be able to force his manager’s hand.
What do you think of May’s potential move back to being a starting pitcher? Would it be a worthwhile juncture for the Twins given their lack of bullpen talent? Share your thoughts int he comment section below.