Following his team’s heart wrenching 9-8 loss to the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday, in which the Twins’ Double-A affiliate New Britain failed to maintain two separate extra-inning leads, right-handed pitcher Trevor May reflected on his season as well as a trade that brought him to a new organization last winter. What’s in the past, however, is not as important as what’s on the horizon for the promising youngster. The ability to quickly refocus and move beyond that sort of loss is the type of approach that can help carry May to the top level of the sport.
With some noticeable highs and lows throughout his career, May, who was the Phillies’ 4th round draft choice in 2008 out of Kelso High School (WA), took some internal inventory and realized that his focus was the missing factor to his game. The “stuff” was always there, but an occasionally absent ability to execute his pitches with consistency was his main problem.
May, who entered the 2013 season with a 37-31 record, a 3.92 ERA and an 11.08 K/9 mark in his pro career, has notoriously been a pitcher that has peaks and valleys with his production. In his second season in the Double-A Eastern League, May has tallied a 9-9 record along with a 4.48 ERA with two complete games in 26 starts. A collection of very good outings have combined with the poor ones to produce a moderately mediocre stat line.
“Ups and downs has kind of been my M.O. since I was drafted,” May said. “But I feel like the severe roller coaster years, with how this year has gone, are definitely in the past. I’ve figured a lot of stuff about myself out. I’ve really created consistency for myself. I made a lot of changes with how I approach pitching and how I approach outings, you know kind of where I get my head at when I pitch.”
A troublesome outing in early August was a turning point for May, who took notice of his tendency to simply go through the motions. Internal adjustments were made following that loss.
“I’m happy that I’ve been able to analyze myself enough to know that that’s what’s going on and that if I’m able to kind of realize that my focus is off and get it right back on that, things go a lot more smoother and it makes pitching a lot more simple. It’s really shown itself in the last five outings and there’s a couple where I didn’t have anything left, but the more you’re consistent, the more you can create your own luck.”
Since the poor effort against Erie in on August 4th, in which he walked five batters, let up eight hits and surrendered eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, May has bounced back considerably, improving his output. In his most recent two starts, the six-foot-five 215-pounder is 2-0 with just two earned runs allowed in 12 innings while striking out 13 with five free passes issued.
The Washington state native is hoping to continue his recent success into the Arizona Fall League, where he’ll represent the Twins with the Glendale Desert Dogs beginning in October.
“Everyone I’ve known to go to the fall league and has done well has gone on to go up to the big team. And a lot of them go up there next year,” May stated. “It’s all about getting yourself in a position and I’m going to continue growing as a pitcher, so when that day comes, I want to go and know that I’m ready to be there and that I should be there and that I’m going to stay there.”
The trade that sent him to the team he hopes to play for, the Minnesota Twins, along with pitcher Vance Worley for outfielder Ben Revere, did not come as a surprise, as over the years the 23-year-old had seen several of his teammates and friends dealt in blockbuster trades. The Phillies had developed a reputation of dealing well-touted minor leaguers for established big league stars.
“Every organization’s kind of different with how they operate and I was with the Phillies long enough to know that they go for trades and, you know, they get guys and they want to win now,” May said. “That’s just how it is and there was a lot of guys that had a great year last year and I didn’t have the greatest year and, you know, sometimes it’s just your turn. Once someone told me, ‘You’re in rumors’, I wasn’t going to be surprised if I was traded.”
The manner in which May learned of the swap, however, certainly wasn’t ideal. Prior to receiving a call from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to alert him of the news, the youngster woke up early on the west coast and checked the internet for details on the latest baseball news only to learn about his own fate.
“I found out on Twitter, of course, before anything else, at seven in the morning. I woke up and saw that some other trades had happened…a lot of thing were happening and I read, ‘It’s been confirmed’, or whatever,” May explained.
The change for May was welcome, as he feels his path to the majors may be a bit more open with the Twins than it was with the Phillies.
“They use a lot of guys and give guys opportunities. Not that the Phillies don’t, but they’ve got the big three (All-Star pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels) and the Twins don’t have the big three and they’re giving guys opportunities,” May stated.
While he was in the Phillies system, May was honored as the 2011 Paul Owens Award winner, an honor given to the team’s top minor league pitcher, and entered the 2012 season ranked as the organization’s top prospect by multiple outlets. With that type of praise, the estimated time of arrival to the major leagues has long been a hot topic for fans and media members as well as May himself. He now feels confident that he is taking his final steps toward reaching the big show.
“It’s always crossed my mind, especially with the trade and everything and being on the 40-man roster, the opportunities are a lot closer, it seems, and you can get caught up in it.
“I put in all the work in the world with mechanics and learning how to pitch and all that stuff. And the final step is just letting yourself let all that work you put in come out on the mound every single you pitch as well as you can that day.”