July 13, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: A view of the strikeouts board at Target Field in a game between the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. The Athletics won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Bright Futures: #7 - Trevor May

Recap: In order to keep track of who has been featured in my “Bright Futures” series, I will post links of previously noted players who have made my list. Bright Futures #8-10:

Jul 06, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Baseballs sit in a bin during batting practice prior to the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins ended the 2012 campaign in desperate need for starting pitchers that have a swing-and-miss pitching arsenal. With few options in their system and the ones they do have, basically Jose Berrios, more than a few years away from the majors, the Twins were forced to bring in some power arms this offseason. At the expense of established outfielder Denard Span and young, yet productive outfielder Ben Revere, Minnesota was able to achieve their goal of obtaining young, high-ceiling power arms.

The strength of the Twins minor league system is the outfield position, and because of this the Twins believe they were able to cut ties with the two outfielders. Sending Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for tall and powerful Alex Meyer definitely helped the Twins’ need for a top-of-the-rotation type arm, but it was the trade that sent Ben Revere to the Philadelphia Phillies that made more noise in the Twins pitching revival. The Phillies received the talents of Revere, but had to give up a 25-year-old Vance Worley, who has nearly two full seasons under his belt in the majors, and Trevor May, who was the Phillies top pitching prospect. Worley will help an abysmal rotation immediately as well as for the future, but May could be the real prize resulting from this trade.

Trevor May, listed as 6’5″ 215 lb., is the right size to be a powerful pitcher and should have the stamina go deep into games as well. Being drafted by the Phillies in the 4th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Kelso, Washington, May bypassed college ball and started immediately in the Phillies rookie league at age 18. Throughout the minors, he has shown the ability to strike hitters out, and that is exactly what the Twins have been lacking since Johan Santana was traded to the Mets in 2008. May’s strikeout rate in five years as a professional is an impressive 11.1 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. However, this past season was his lowest K/9 ratio since he began pitching full seasons. Despite the decline in his K/9 rate, May should be able to hone in on the strikeouts more consistently because of the weapons he possess in his right arm.

May has three pitches he can confidently launch at opposing batters every night he takes the mound. His fastball sits comfortably in the 92-94 mph range, but scouts have seen it touch 95. May’s fastball has heavy, heavy sink to it and should induce more ground balls than his sub 1.00 GO/AO ratio would suggest. The two secondary pitches May possess are strikeout pitches, one being a hammer/power curve and the other being is straight-line change up. Scouts have said:

…his secondary pitches (a hammer curve and a straight change) are almost ready for more advanced hitters.

The ability to strikeout hitters is the reason why the Twins made the trade with Philadelphia to obtain May’s rights. He has the potential to be a solid no. 2 arm, maybe even a no. 1 guy in the rotation, but that won’t be determined for a few years yet. May’s stuff is good, and definitely has room to grow as he builds on his tall frame, which aides in tabbing his potential as high as a top-end guy.

One negative about Trevor May at this point though is his high walk ratio of 4.7 BB/9. He does tend to walk a lot of people which will drive pitch counts up and take away some innings as well. However, the Twins organization has been the lowest or near the lowest at walking batters in the last decade or so and this can only help May as he works on attacking the strike zone more frequently.

Projection: Trevor May is a big-bodied, right-handed pitcher with room to grow on his frame. His 92-95 mph fastball has plenty of sink on it and is pitched with ease, rather than with much force. The curve ball is an absolute hammer and will most likely be his go to strikeout pitch as he comes along through the system. May also has a good feel for the change up, but like most young pitchers, it lags behind his other pitches a little bit. He doesn’t have much movement on the change, but the consistent arm slot and significant drop in speed should baffle hitters as he works out the kinks. I believe May will be a no. 2 guy when he makes his mark in the majors and should be a work horse as well, considering he had three complete games and two shutouts during his 2011 campaign. A guy who can eat some innings, work deep into a ball game, and strike some hitters out along the way? I’ll take it, I’ll take it any day of the week. The Twins made a steal of a deal in getting Worley and May for Revere this offseason, and their rotation is looking like it’s going in the right direction moving forward. May is 23 and will probably start in Double-A for the Twins, but a strong Spring could land him in Triple-A. I see May making his Major League debut sometime this season, honestly. With last year’s rotation’s ineptitude still resonating through my head, I cannot see why, if May is pitching well in the minors, you do not give him a shot to see what he can do. Every pitcher needs experience and with this upcoming season tabbed as yet another “rebuilding year”, no time like the present. Realistically though, I believe he’ll crack the starting rotation permanently in 2014 with hopes of making a name for himself as a potential September call up this season.

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