Look at Trevor May‘s numbers and arm, and you’ll see a young pitcher deserving of the call up and start – his first in the major leagues – for Minnesota tonight at the Oakland Coliseum.
In 17 starts for Triple-A Rochester, the 24 year old went 8-6 with 2.93 ERA and a WHIP of 1.175. He missed bats (8.6 SO/9) and was in relative control for a power pitcher (3.5 BB/9, a career low), leading to a FIP (fielding independent pitching)
The 6’5, 215 pound May has a big arm and a repertoire of four swing-and-miss pitches. He relies most heavily on a 92-95 MPH fastball and his plus change-up, mixing in a curve and , less often, a slider as well.
But just a few months ago, the narrative around the game was that Trevor May’s time as an elite prospect had ended in 2012.
That was the year May, then in the Phillies organization, got lit up to a 4.78 ERA in Double-A. He was wild and hittable, with a 4.7 BB/9, 22 home runs allowed (1.3 HR/9) and a 11 hit batsman. That offseason, Philadelphia traded the right-hander to Minnesota for outfielder Ben Revere, but he was little improved, with a 4.51 ERA and a 4.0 BB/9 across 27 Double-A starts.
Baseball America and MLB.com, may have each respectably ranked him as the Twins’ 8th best prospect prior to the 2014 season, but in the winter of 2012, he was named by both as one of the top 70 prospects in all of baseball.
This season was a return to grace for May. Since May 13th, the day he threw six shutout innings against Columbus, the former fourth round pick has been on the most dominant starters in the minors, with a 1.95 ERA and an opponents OPS of .589 in 12 starts and 69 2/3 innings. He was even named to the All Star Futures Game in July, but declined the honor as a calf injury sidelined him for four weeks in the middle of the season.
Eric Fryer, Rochester’s back-up catcher, points to an April 20th outing in Syracuse as a turning point in May’s career. That day, May blanked the Chiefs for six one-hit innings, issuing just one free pass and striking out four.
“That was his first win at Triple-A,” Fryer told Twins beat-writer Mike Bernadino. “It seemed like that was a breakthrough kind of game where everything was working. He was sharp. In my mind, that was what changed his course.”
May had struggled in his second start at the minors’ highest level, leaving a contest against Pawtucket after just 4 1/3 innings and four earned runs allowed.
When asked about how Trevor looked in the month of May, when he went 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA, Fryer described him simply as “pretty fantastic.”
May has made huge strides this season in all facets of his game, particularly with his command.
“Everything has been sharper this year, with more consistent command of both the heat and off-setting offerings.” John Sickels of Minor League Ball wrote, “He’s doing a much better job locating his pitches to all quadrants of the strike zone.
The luster of a top prospect may have long-since worn off, but May has earned his first big league start through struggle and strife and ultimately triumph. He’ll look to continue his success 8 o’clock eastern time against Oakland.