What to expect in 2012: Trevor May

Since things are a bit slow, I figured we would try something new. Every few days, I’m going to start a new post in what will be a series looking at a bunch of our key prospects heading in to 2012, and what we think, both individually and as a group, the players will do. We’ll discuss where they are likely to start the season, things they need to work on, and what expectations are for each guy in the new season. Keep these posts on point, and if you want to ramble on about something random, use the most recent open discussion post.

That said, we’ll start with RHP Trevor May. Through prospect graduations and trades, and also his strong bouneback season, May is now the Phillies top prospect heading in to 2012. A lot is expected of him, and the jump to AA will be a big test. When he moved up to Clearwater the first time, he struggled mightily and needed a tune-up back at Lakewood. The move to AA from A+ is maybe the sharpest in the minors (you could argue short season to Low A) in terms of the quality of competition, and the learning curve can be steep. Hitters are more experienced and disciplined, pitchers have better command, and it helps to separate the men from the boys. May’s career grid looks like this (click to enlarge)

It won’t come as a surprise to you, but I think the biggest key for May in 2012 is fastball command. He can get away with mistakes against inexperienced A ball hitters, especially up in the zone, but more disciplined hitters in AA will lay off that pitch up and out of the zone. If May pounds the bottom half of the zone with his fastball and can set up his curve, he’ll be fine. If he doesn’t throw strikes, the results could be ugly. 2012 is a big year for him. He made stride with his command in 2011, and he needs to build on it in 2012.

Whats your take? How do you think he will fare in Reading?

62 thoughts on “What to expect in 2012: Trevor May

  1. I know it is not saying much to say he will struggle for a few starts but I could see a couple of his signature Hi-K / Hi-BB games to start off but I think he is going to dominate and emerge from the 2012 season one of the better pitching prospects in baseball with clear #2 upside ready to step into the rotation summer 2013.

    The other scenario that is in play is that if he is dominating they put him on the 40-man in September and let him dominate out of the pen before putting him in LHV in 2013 with his bag packed ready to come up at a moment’s notice.

    1. This seems really optimistic, as I expect a good, but not great year at the new level. But if he is that good, why would the Phils not have him start 2013 in the rotation, especially with Blanton being a free agent at the end of the year?

      1. For May to be in the Phillies rotation in 2013, he would have to be lights out at 2 levels for 2012. This is a long shot because of his past control problems. Not to mention that the Phillies don’t really have much of a history of promoting their pitching prospects early. 2014 is more likely.

      2. For May to be in the Phillies rotation in 2013, he would have to be lights out at 2 levels for 2012. This is a long shot because of his past control problems. Not to mention that the Phillies don’t really have much of a history of promoting their pitching prospects early. 2014 is more likely.

  2. As we know there is an upside and downside possible for him. Of course we prefer the upside which I see is like Kershaw, only for a righty starter. His maturity in coming back after a “down” prior season may indicate that he is taking his learning curve to a higher level with some better maturity. His Ks/9 is outstanding together with better development of his lesser-speed pitches which hopefully will include a good change-up.

    It all depends on his command…which is still something to be worked on. IF he brings it all together, he will be a candidate to join the Fearsome Foursome in ’13…with the small possibility of a raise to LV in ’12’s latter days.

    Along with Biddle he represents the likeliest starters to join The Four in time to learn from them.

    Both have the talent and physical attributes to form the centerpieces of the staff yet to come. Watching them both in ’12 promises to reveal more about their fulfilling LARGE expectations for their future and that of the franchise.

    1. Art, you’re really seeing Kershaw like upside for May? The same Kershaw who at age 23 will most likely take home a cy young? Kershaw was in the majors by age 19-20. May still toiling around in Low-A ball. That tells me that Kershaw mastered the fastball command thing well before May had even had a bad season….I’d love if May turned out like that, but c’mon, its highly unlikely

    2. Seeing as how Oswalt is gone, you may want to change the moniker to terrifying triumvirate, or something similar.

    3. Wow. I’m not sure you realize how great Kershaw is at the age of 23. Trevor May’s ceiling is a #2 at best. I think we’re inflating the value of May because of all the recent losses in talent.

  3. May cut his walk rate almost in half. That is impressive. Starter vs Closer very interesting!

  4. Trevor is 22 years old. He will be successful but there will be speed bumps along the way. He’ll dominate when he starts out in Reading but then hitters will adapt. He’ll hit a rough patch and people will start calling him the AA flame-out. He’ll adapt and end the season with so-so stats. 2013 will be his year to shine. He’ll start out in AA and we’ll be talking about him jumping to the bigs by July. He’ll move to AAA and be successful so a 2014 arrival in Philly will be just about right. If you want to go a little further out, 2014 will be an up and down year in the show but you’ll see his potential and you will be rewarded in the long run.

    I guess I should save this post and see how prophetic I am. I write one of these each year but never post it. I go back and see how I did. I’ve done pretty well over the years but ths will be the 1st that will see light of day.

    1. This is a good prediction. Either he’ll turn the corner early and never look back or he’ll have the type of adjustment periods you mentioned. He’s a guy who easily could come into his own around age 26 or 27. They need to be patient with him (not Ruben’s strong suit).

  5. I expect he will have an uneven season in AA-ball mixing some dominate outings with some real clunkers. He’s made great strides with his control but he still has a very high walk rate which will get him into trouble with more advanced hitters. Add in that he’s also going from a pitchers park to a hitters park and all of those base runners add up to some bad innings.

  6. I am cautiously optimistic that May will have a solid 2012, but it’s likely to have some ups and downs that could cause certain people to be disappointed. Although I am not quite as high on Trevor May as some other fans, I know the kid has a ton of potential to be a dominant pitcher if he puts everything together. His command is still a question mark going forward that could mean the difference between being a quality #1-2-3 starter or a #4-5 starter or… *shudders* low leverage mopup guy in the Bullpen. Until I see more consistency going forward, I can’t be too high on May despite the potential.

  7. Most of the major points already made effectively.

    I would throw in that the main concern is him staying healthy and continuing to develop his pitches and repeat his delivery consistently for improving command. If he does that and makes some mistakes in the process, gets hit at times, I’m not as concerned about stellar results as I am with IP and mechanical/pitch/command progress.

    Agree he’ll dominate at times and struggle at times. Don’t think any of us can pin down just how much of each, but it seems his arrow is sloping up. If he keeps it that way, all is good.

  8. I’m bullish on May but the only thing I expect is for him to log more innings (see Diamonds comments above) and when he does run into adversity how does his make-up allow him to effectively handle those rough patches.

    One thing is for sure. A prospect is never static. He’s either moving forward or moving backward. I would bet on Trevor to keep moving forward.

  9. I see, as many others, 2012 being uneven much like his 2010. I think his make or break year will be 2013 when he shows if he can really adapt with 2014 as an optimistic date to join the big club as a mid-season replacement.

  10. I actually think it will be his control of his curveball that will determine his success. If he can’t throw it for strikes, and i’m guessing that he won’t early in the season, his fastball will get hit hard. i can see him having a rough April and half of May, before he improves and learns more about how to pitch and then has a terrific season after that. I agree that mid 2013 seems about right for his call up to the Bigs. May is definitely still learning how to pitch and how to control his pitches but the potential is obviously there.

  11. I agree with the majority.

    The key thing for guys in the minors is to continually improve, hopefully consistently. May took a step forward last year with his control but he needs to take another one to be successful in AA. I see an uneven year with some impressive and some disastrous starts. By the second half of the season I’m looking for consistent effectiveness and by the end of the year I’ll guess an ERA in the very high 3s or low-to-mid 4s and the splits showing a better line in the second half of the year.

      1. On one hand, I’d love to have David Wright on the team. On the other hand, I’m tired of all our top prospects getting traded. May doesn’t strike me as one of the guys that we absolutely have to hold on to though. I think I’d be more surprised if he ends up as a 1 or 2 starter in the majors than a 3 or 4.

  12. I believe 2014 is much more likely for an arrival than 2013. With the starters aging and some of our prospects traded, he is a very important guy in our future plans so this is a big year for him and the organization. I’m more concerned with how he finishes 2012 than starts it. If in his last 2-3 months at AA he puts up great numbers, that’s more important than the total statistical package.

    I still believe one of our relief prospects will be converted to a starter in the next year or so and become a #3 type starter for us, thinking Stutes, Herndon, or Schwimer, probably in that order of likelihood.

    1. What!!?? Neither of those three have the secondary offerings. Stutes and Herndon were both starters, and converted because their stuff played better in short stints. Schwimmer can’t get lefties out in 1-2 inning stints, so what would make you think he can do it 3 times through a lineup?

      1. You are viewing the world as if its in a static condition rather than a dynamic one. Pitchers change and evolve, they add new pitches, they change grips, they alter arm angles, etc.

        My personal belief is that Stutes is too valuable in the pen so it won’t be him. As for Schwimer, I believe he is too smart and thinks about the game in such an advanced way, that he will find something to help him solve LH hitters. Will that make him a starter – not sure the Phils will try. My bet is on Herndon, I think he is the least valuable to the pen so its worth taking a risk on.

  13. I think he’ll be in Philadelphia in 2013, providing he stays healthy. No knock on his health, just a necessary caveat for any minor league pitcher. May is a Grade A prospect — the only one in our system. He profiles as an almost certain #3 big league pitcher, again if healthy, possibly a #2. His K rate has held up well as he’s moved up the ladder. He’s progressed at a quite steady rate. Reading, with a possible promotion to Allentown after the All-Star break, then Philly in 2013 — possibly to start the season, but more likely for the second half of the season. The control needs to be better, for him to be a #2, but is good enough now to fit somewhere in a major league rotation.

  14. I don’t know if this means anything but I took a look at the top 3 strikeout pitchers in the FSL for 2010 and looked at their Ks/Inn pitched: Matt Moore 203/144; Joel Carreno 173/137 and Austin Hyatt 156/124. All three were able to carry that strikeout ability(more K’s than innings pitched) over into their AA season: Moore 210/155; Carreno 152/134 and Hyatt 171/154. Now obviously different pitchers have different styles but these numbers hopefully tells us that K’s in the FSL translates into a good chance of getting K’s at AA.

  15. Trevor will have to adjust to the hitters’ park. He will have some control problems and give up home runs with men on base. He will adjust and finish strong. I see him in AA all year. Then AAA in 2013 with a starting job in 2014. Depending on his control he can be a great pitcher. I think he still believes he keeps the batters off balance with his slightly-off stuff. He will have to get through that. He proved last year that he could adjust and dominate. I wish him well.

  16. Moore unlike our young pitchers didn’t look very tired. My point is they might of been talked into being tired. All we heard in September is how young pitchers flame out late in the season.
    Were they influenced by the negative talk especially by the coaching staff.

    1. Did the Braves do the same thing with Kimbrel and Venters too? Or maybe it is actually true that young pitchers actually do tire late in the season, Matt Moore not withstanding.

      1. Maybe but the power of suggestion is well documented. Even so Kimbrel and Venters were under a lot more pressure. You have to admit it is POSSIBLE.

    2. He only threw 155 iP in the minors and 9 in the big leagues…..plus he had some time off in Sept before he threw his first MLB pitch. He shouldn’t have been tired. Plus he is 22 and not a 19/20-year old and had thrown his obligatory approx 500 IP in the minors throughout his career..

      1. I actually think that young starters are much less affected than young relievers by the big league schedule since the starter’s workload can be better monitored by controlling side sessions, giving extra days rest, skipping turns, etc.

        For a young reliever, especially one pitching in the late innings, they are throwing almost everyday because they are either coming into the game or they are up and throwing in the bullpen because they might be used.

        But mainly, I was just having a chuckle at another nowheels claim that the Phillies organization is somehow sabatoging their young players performance and careers.

        1. Exactly, there is a huge difference between the majors and minors for relievers, where there isn’t that much for starters. Starters in the minors and majors typically pitch every 5th day, have side sessions, and have pitch counts of some sort.

          Relievers on the other hand in the minors don’t normally pitch back to back days, and never really pitch three straight days. On top of that, there is a big focus in the minors on only getting pitchers up and throwing that they intend to use whereas in the bigs the focus is on winning so guys are handled differently.

  17. I believe the coaching staff could of taken a more positive approach. But Cholly is a guy from yesteryear, his strength and his weakness.

    1. I’m all for the powers of positive reinforcement but it does have its limits. As for Manual, by all accounts he is a very positive guy in the clubhouse.

      1. As I hear it, one of the main reasons that so many free agents want to play in Philly is to play for Charlie. the strong pitching and winning history aside, Charley is always mentioned as a reason. I’m not crazy about some of his moves but the players play hard for him.

        1. You realize you are only talking about veteran players. I would be procholly is I knew a young player is at a disadvantage in Cholly’s eyes

  18. This article demonstrates why baseball season needs to start up again. We can all talk about what we think will happen but it doesnt mean anything. I can’t wait to see these guys out there playing and following what they are doing. The pitchers at AA will be the thing to watch for the system but also the new draft class also bears some watching. I am very hopeful of what Tyler Greene can do and Larry Greene, Walding, and Quinn will all be good to see for the first time. Also Maikel Franco will be someone to follow in the daily box scores.

    Someone speed up time and get us to the spring

    1. My thoughts exactly. I know the antsiness for baseball to start, but you get to a certain age, you savor every second, want the clock to slow down.

  19. about charlie, am i the only one who thinks he should bunt more and stop playing for three run homer. especially with this pitching staff.ever run you score makes it easier to win with our starters,dont need to score ten runs to win four is most nights a win

    1. The problem with bunting runners into scoring position is that often times you give the pitcher an easy out and sometimes reduce the expected amount of runs you would have scored if you didn’t bunt. You can never start rallies if you’re always killing them with sac bunts.

        1. Ruben says tonite with Jim Salisbury, many in the org like Freddy Galvis to play in Philly in 2012, even Ryne Sandberg indorsed him glowingly….but still a risk.

  20. Papelbon a Phillie, our 1st round pick will go to Boston but we’ll get 2 picks back when Madson signs somewhere.

    1. Not necessarily. Terms of a CBA haven’t been ironed out yet and there is talk removing draft pick compensation. Possibly the Phillies wouldn’t lose a pick but the Red Sox would gain a supplemental one.

  21. Either way compensation plays out by signing papelbon and losing madson we will gain a pick in the compensation round. If the rules remain as they were in the previous deal we would lose our first round pick by signing papelbon but when madson signs eleswhere we would gain a first rd pick from any team that finished outside of the worst 15 teams if the team that signs him is one of the worst 15 teams we would receive their second rd pick. We also receive a pick in the compensation rd which lies in between the first and second rd. As I see it we have upgraded our closer (it may be a marginal upgrade) but we will also get an additional pick. I have to applaud RAJ again. We will see how the rest of the offseason plays out but as far as the deal for the closer we got the best one on the market and an additional pick in the sandwich rd for doing so. RAJ works from a script and it all plays off the big picture. I am not sure if rollins plays into it but that remains to be seen. I wouldnt be suprised if they made a play for Reyes.

    1. Now what happens if a team outside the top 15 signs Madson and we get thier 1st round pick but then the Phillies sign Cuddyer whos also a type A? Do we then lose that first round pick we get from the team that signs Madson?

      1. I believe we get two picks for a Madson signing….net result with a Cuddyer signing…break even…no picks in first round. I may be wrong, when the rest of the crew wakes up this morning they can be more detailing on this matter.

      2. You can’t lose a compensation pick. If we get a pick for Madson it stays the property of the Phillies even if they sign seven more Type A’s. We would lose successive picks. Our second rounder, third rounder, etc.

        Of course, this all assumes that draft pick compensation remains unchanged in the new CBA.

  22. I expect him to start below-average work his way through and end the season with 1-3 starts in AAA. And for 2013 I can see him being a 6th starter maybe like worley last year, but without many injuries I dont see him becoming a perminent part of the rotaion until 2014 barring any injuries or downturns for him.

  23. Do0es anyone else notice that none of the Phillies web sites have updated May’s height or weight since he was drafted at age 18? It still says 6’5″ & 215lbs. In actuality, May is over 6’6″ and weighs about 245.

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