This is the seventh in a series of interviews conducted by Steve Potter.
Minor League Spot Light: Trevor Bettencourt
Trevor Bettencourt was the Phillies 25th round draft selection of the 2016 amateur draft from UC Santa Barbara. The 22 year old right handed pitcher is from San Jose, California.
He attended St. Francis High School where he also played second and third base when not on the hill. During his senior year he went 8-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 60 innings pitched with 86 K’s and earned First Team All League honors and the Pitcher of the Year Award. Trevor only lost two games during his four year high school career as a pitcher and his team made the post season all four years winning the league championship during his junior season.
He began his college career at the University of Tennessee where he went 3-4 in over 61 innings pitched during his freshman and sophomore years. He led the Volunteers in saves in 2013 with three and was part of the 2014 club that made the SEC tournament which broke a six year drought for the club.
Trevor transferred to UC Santa Barbara for his junior year where he went 4-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 games ( 42 IP) with 46 K’s and 4 saves. The Gauchos had a very successful season going 43-20-1 and made their first ever CWS appearance. In the game from which they were eliminated from the tournament against Arizona, Trevor pitched in relief and retired 13 batters in a row at one point in the game striking out a career high seven batters.
He spent his first pro season at Williamsport where he pitched briefly in 2 games before being shut down for the summer. This season he is on the Lakewood Blue Claws roster and has appeared in 13 games to date with a 1.45 ERA in 18 2/3 IP with 4 saves and has recorded 32 K’s while yielding just 3 walks. He combined with Nick Fanti for a no hitter on 5/6/17 against Columbia. Trevor came in to record the last out of the contest.
I recently was able to correspond with Trevor on a Q and A, here are his responses:
Trevor, first of all thanks for agreeing to do the interview. Since it is relatively fresh on your mind, how nervous were you coming in for the last out of the combined no hitter you pitched with Nick Fanti ? What was going through your mind when you recorded the strikeout?
” No problem, and to be honest I was pretty nervous. I imagine anybody would be, considering the situation but I enjoy those moments in the game. Those are the moments we play for and I just embraced it. My first thought was “We did it”! Gave Cabral a hug and just tried to find Fanti to say congrats.”
I read you also played water polo in high school, in fact you were the team captain. What position did you play? How do, if any of your experiences correlate to baseball?
“I really enjoyed water polo especially considering I could swim better than I could run when I was younger. My freshman year I played the field and after that switched to goalie. The competitiveness is very similar to baseball but the swimming and conditioning in the water definitely helped my arm when it came to baseball.”
You went to the University of Tennessee out of high school, what was your deciding factor in choosing that program? How different was life there as compared to growing up in California?
” I mean, hard to pass up a chance to play in the SEC, but when I visited UT I loved everything about it. The school, the baseball facilities and the people just seemed to be the right fit for me. Life was definitely more relaxed out there in the sense that people don’t seem to be in a hurry as often as people in California. I enjoyed my time there and will definitely make a trip back there at some point.”
You then transferred back to UC Santa Barbara and red shirted for 2015, why did you choose to transfer?
” I had torn my UCL and needed surgery and some things with my scholarship got mixed around and I felt that transferring was my best option. Considering the friends I made, and how my baseball career changed I have no regrets finishing my career as a Gaucho.”
I saw you pitch against Arizona on TV in the CWS last summer, was very impressed with your 12-6 curve ball. Is that your out pitch? I assume your first experience as a reliever was in college, are you comfortable in all roles?
” Thank you I appreciate it and I would say so, I sometimes joke that it’s the only reason I’m here haha. But it’s something I’ve had for awhile now and something I’m very comfortable with throwing. I feel comfortable in any role, just want the opportunity to have the ball in my hand.”
You played in the Alaska league one summer, what was that like both from a baseball and social experience?
” Alaska was one of the most memorable summers I’ve had. I learned so much from the coaches there and got to experience things like seeing a monstrous size moose and catching salmon the size of my arm. ”
How did you find out you had been drafted by the Phillies? What was your reaction?
“I was drafted during the super regional game against Louisville last year and didn’t find out until we got back into the locker room. I find out from my buddy saying congrats Betty! I didn’t know what he was talking about and he quickly said you just got drafted. So I found out from my teammate who saw it on Twitter. It was a pretty exciting moment since we had just taken game 1 of the series and I found out I was going to be able to keep playing after college. Everybody game me hugs and congratulations. It was a special moment for me.”
Your favorite team is the Giants, what have you heard about us Phillies fans?
“Hey, Bay Area born and raised but my dad always told me Philadelphia fans love their sports, whether it’s baseball or any sport, they are all in.”
Last summer you didn’t see a lot of action for Williamsport, was that more precautionary after playing a long college season?
“I started to feel it on my arm and my velo began to drop. So it was less of a precaution and more of something we were trying to work on with my arm. Just needed a little TLC and we are as good as new.”
This year was your first spring training, I saw you there early in mid January. How was the experience different than what you have experienced thus far in your baseball life?
“I went early to get used to the area. I worked with the coordinators and had the opportunity to be involved in a work program with a community center there. It was different not having class then going to the field but I enjoyed the extra time to get more into the details of mechanics and the mental side of the game. I guess the big difference is just the everyday grind, you get used to it. I mean I would rather do this than be behind a desk right now.”
One of the hobbies listed for you on the college bio was “taping bats”. Explain that a bit if you can…
“I really enjoy just taping handles on bats. Doing designs, finding ways to make the tape even smoother and more comfortable. I’ve had teammates in college give me bats to tape before games and I just enjoy doing it.”
This year’s been a great start for you and the team at Lakewood. Are you a goal setter and if so what are your targets for the season?
“Been a great year so far and hope to keep it going, but yes I am. I have the obvious goals of making playoffs and things like that but personally I have set numbers of innings I hope to throw and a number of K to walk ratio. I had some issues with walks in college and by setting that goal keeps me focused on pounding the zone.”
Lastly tell Phillies fans what they should expect to see on the field from Trevor Bettencourt in regards to demeanor, approach and will to win.
“The Philly fans will see a guy who leaves it all on the field. My goal every day is to have no what if’s. I want to know I did everything possible to be successful. With that being said, I do believe baseball is meant to be fun and I’m going to have fun and enjoy my time out there because you just never know when your time is up.”