With a massively impressive campaign in 2011 for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, right-handed starting pitcher Trevor May locked down his spot as Philadelphia’s top prospect and is on the fast track toward the big leagues.
He is the reigning Paul Owens Award winner, given to the top pitcher and player in the Phillies’ developmental system each year. In 27 starts with the Threshers in 2011, May posted a 10-8 record with a 3.63 ERA, while striking out a Florida State League leading 208 batters in 151 1/3 innings. He also held opposing hitters to a .221 average.
The Phillies’ 4th round draft pick from 2008, May earned the win in the 50th annual Florida State League All-Star Game at Bright House Field last year. He also was twice named FSL Pitcher of the Week and earned Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors for June.
After signing with Philadelphia, May helped lead the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies to a championship in 2008. In 5 regular season games in the GCL, May went 1-1 and had a 3.75 ERA.
The right-handed May began the 2009 season in extended spring training then was later assigned to Class A Lakewood and quickly began garnering recognition as a fast rising prospect. May cruised through the South Atlantic League competition with a 4-1 record and a 2.56 ERA in 15 starts that year. He then added to his trophy case by earning another championship ring and leading the ‘Claws to the SAL title.
After beginning his 2010 campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater, May, who perspires heavily, struggled with his grip in the Florida humidity and had great difficulty throwing strikes. The inability to adjust to the weather resulted in an uncharacteristically high 61 walked batters in 70 innings. Overall with Clearwater, May posted a 5-5 record with a 5.01 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts.
The Phillies demoted May to Lakewood, where he quickly bounced back and received a boost in his confidence, returning to excellent form. Back with the BlueClaws, in 11 regular season games, May went 7-3 with a 2.91 ERA.
A return to the Florida State League in 2011 seemingly presented no great challenge for May, who is among the toughest of the tough, both mentally and physically. His focus on always trying to be a step ahead of opposing batters is something that helps May dominate while his conditioning is tremendous and clearly helps him, as he often has gas left in his tank at the end of his outings.
The 6-foot-5-inch 215-pounder’s pitch repertoire consists of a heavy fastball that steadily reaches the mid-90′s, a sharp curveball and a change up that has come along quite a bit since May began throwing it in 2009. Coaches have tried to get May to mix up his pitches, by using each pitch in any given count.
Regardless, May continues to have a reputation as a power pitcher, as his strikeout rates have stayed high throughout his four professional seasons. Prior to 2011, May’s K/9 rate was an impressive 11.55 and he improved over that mark by posting a rate of 12.37 in 2011.
The 22-year-old dabbles in DJ’ing but has his full focus on a career in the big leagues. Expect May to begin the 2012 season with the Double-A Reading Phillies, and provided he takes the necessary steps to dominate another level, it won’t be long before the “baby ace” is joining the rotation that includes established stars like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Our complete 2012 Phillies prospect countdown can be found here.
Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider. Check out more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.