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Please Don’t Get Sexy: Trevor May

Last October I published a report here on former Phillies prospect, Trevor May (which you should probably take 5 minutes to read before you take in this piece. It’s very relevant later on). Once the top prospect in the system, May’s 2012 season was a rocky, frustrating campaign which saw his prospect status suffer a precipitous decline. May was traded during the offseason to the Minnesota Twins as part of the Ben Revere trade. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to see a new incarnation of Trevor May, a pitcher who is covered in the developmental fingerprints of the Minnesota system.

At first glance it’s clear that Trevor May is physically different. Most notably, his lower half has gotten thicker and heavier. Already an impressively large young man as a Phillie, May’s thighs and legs are now officially massive and his overall build is  tumescent. I wrote last year that I didn’t think May had any “positive projection” remaining. which essentially means that I thought he was done putting on good weight and anything that gets added on as he ages wouldn’t help him (though it wouldn’t necessarily hurt him, either). May’s legs have gotten bigger and there don’t seem to be any effects, ill or agreeable, as a result. I do worry now that he’ll get even bigger and venture into Sidney Ponson territory with his body which could suck away some of his athleticism and strike throwing ability.

Update: Trevor May has reached out to me and assured me that he’s not getting fat. In fact, he says he’s dropped 15lbs (which for most of us would be a lot but for someone of Trevor’s considerable size it’s not noticeable). I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt but I won’t delete the previous paragraph because I’d have to delete the word “tumescent.” It’s likely he’s lost the weight in places other than his legs and so those gams of his may just look bigger. Or the scouts sitting on his start and I could just be seeing things. Either way, please carry on.

Before I get into some very interesting and important material regarding May, let’s quickly discuss his stuff. May’s fastball sat 92-94mph for most of his start. It’s still a bit lifeless and flat but he’s doing a much better job of keeping it down in the zone than he was as last year. He still lost some velocity in his latter innings of work but wasn’t down into the 88-90mph range like he was in 2012 (perhaps the extra meat on the legs is helping with that, though he did lose his release point consistency in about the sixth inning so stamina is still an issue in some regard). May’s curveball velocity range is the same (some in the upper 70s and some as low as 73mph when he really subtracts from it) but the bite on it has vanished. He didn’t throw but maybe one average curve during his entire start. His slider, however, has improved and become his best secondary pitch. It moves late and tilts enough that I think it’s going to be an effective big league pitch and might be a true above average weapon one day. Velocity wise, slidey sat 83-85mph and touched 87mph once. May is using the slider in a variety of ways, in on the hands of lefties, away from righties, pitching backwards with it, all sorts of things. More on the slider later. His changeup is still poor, a mid 80s duck that he leaves up in the zone far too often. It will be punished. Your pitch grades are as follows:

Fastball – 60

Curveball – 40

Slider – 50

Changeup – 40

Control – 50

May is a 6’5” drop and drive pitcher. He’s always been that, but to me it seems as though his deep bend has become more pronounced than before. He gets maddeningly low for scouts who like to see downhill plane (though, as Clint Hulsey pointed out in the comment section here, its importance might be overstated) and basically pitches like a 5’11” guy.  May’s making up for some of that with his new arm angle, an over-the-top release which is worlds different than the three-quarters slot he showed during his Phillies tenure.

If you recall my post on May from last year I focused heavily on the arm slot variation he displayed on his pitches. An excerpt from that post:

“There’s one HUGE problem with May’s curveball.  He throws it from a different arm slot than his other pitches.  He’s 3/4s for everything except the curve for which his arm becomes more vertically oriented upon acceleration.  As such, it’s easy to pick up out of his hand.  This needs to be corrected yesterday.”

Now, May comes straight over the top for his fastball, curveball and changeup but has retained his lower arm slot for his slider (so he can get his hand around the side of the ball to create the horizontal spin he wants). Ironically, the sharp, late breaking deuce May showed last year has disappeared and his slider has improved and become his best secondary pitch. It’s a dastardly thing what the baseball gods have done to Trevor May. Big league hitters will pick up on this and be able to identify the slider rather easily out of May’s hand, limiting the pitch’s effectiveness.

I feel better about Trevor May now than I did a year ago (mostly because he’s keeping the fastball down with regularity) and am sold on him as a future big leaguer. I see a #4 starter if the changeup improves at least a little bit or if for some reason the plus curveball is somehow resurrected. He’s a #5 if it does not. A useful piece to be sure, but nothing worth fretting over.