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Fantasy Roundup: Scouting Trevor May

May's high upside makes him a pitcher to watch down the stretch (Photo: pnutbutterjams.com)

May’s high upside makes him a pitcher to watch down the stretch (Photo: pnutbutterjams.com)

When Trevor May got the call-up for the Twins, I was excited to watch his Major League debut against the A’s on Saturday because I love pitchers who have the raw ingredients to significantly outperform their current fantasy value. Prior to 2013 May was always able to miss bats (career 24% strikeout rate in the minors), but that always came with command issues (career 12% walk rate). This year in AAA the strikeout rate stabilized (23.4%) and the walk rate, which has dropped year over year for three years, dropped to 9.5%. If he posts a 23.4% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate in the majors he’s a lower end version of Jake Odorizzi.

A friend of mine went to the game and had seats behind home plate. Since she had a great view I asked her for scouting report and this is what she said (via text): “His ERA is higher than Jim Johnson’s. lol … at least he kept everything in the park.”

In all seriousness he struggled with command of the entire game. He was nibbling with the fastball (91-94 mph), and when he was down in the count he became visibly frustrated (pacing around the mound and sweating profusely) and started missing the strike zone by a lot. He didn’t have a feel for the curveball as he hung a lot of them in the middle of the zone (which got hammered). In the second inning he got two quick outs, but then walked the bases loaded and allowed three more runs to score. And then, like a virtual particle, he was removed from the game after only so briefly pitching.

Simply put, he sucked, but it’s the matter in which he sucked that has me intrigued for the rest of this year and heading into 2015. This year he only had four starts in AAA where he walked four or more, which indicates the command problems on Saturday could be due to first start jitters. Also, the change-up at times flashed as a true bat-misser. If his fastball command improves he’s going to provide a lot of sneaky value.

Trevor May, Rest of Season

This is an open audition for 2015 so he should get an opportunity to pitch every fifth day.

His next start is intriguing as he’s at home against the Royals who are 24th in the majors in wOBA in the last 30 days and 21st in the majors for the year. If I were to re-rank pitchers for this upcoming week I would have him in the 85-95 range. Ideally I wouldn’t start him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes six innings, strikes out seven, and allows two earned runs.

In terms of his rest of year fantasy value it is entirely possible he’s fifth or sixth starter in a 15-team mixed because of his ability to miss a lot of bats, the division the Twins play in, and his home ballpark. This is an open audition for 2015 so he should get an opportunity to pitch every fifth day.

With Alex Meyer almost ready there may not be room for May in the starting rotation at the start of the 2015 season. Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, and Ricky Nolasco will occupy the first three slots with Meyer, May, Yohan Pino, and Tommy Milone vying for the last two spots. If May begins next year in the rotation I would take a flyer on him in a deep mixed league.

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About the author: I write a daily column for Baseball Professor called the Fantasy Roundup. You can also find my writing at Through the Fence Baseball and MattCommins.com.

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