When the Philadelphia Phillies traded right-hander Trevor May to the Minnesota Twins in a deal that saw them acquire center fielder Ben Revere two winters ago, it was thought by many to be a steep price to pay, as the right-hander was one of the system's best starting pitching prospects. Because Philadelphia's rotation was considered essentially infallible for the next few seasons, it was a somewhat understandable risk to acquire a center fielder of the future.
While Revere hasn't been terrible in his time with the Phillies, it's safe to say that if Trevor May shows a semblance of the stuff he has for Triple-A Rochester this year, the Twins will come out the winners in that deal.
"He's improved quite a bit," an NL scout said. "There's always been talent in his right arm, but you always saw a guy who was more projection than finished product. I wouldn't say he's finished developing by any stretch of the imagination, but I've seen him twice this year, and each time I've come away saying that is a guy who can get big league hitters out right now. He's a legit mid-rotation talent, in my opinion."
Since the Phillies drafted May in the fourth round of the 2009 draft, the right-hander out of Kelso (Washington) High School has always caused scouts to salivate with his arm strength, and although not overpowering, his fastball sits in the low 90s and will touch 95.
The big improvements for May, however, are the secondary pitches. His change has always been his best off-speed offering, but it showed massive improvement in the Arizona Fall League, and it's now an above-average pitch with fade and deception from arm speed. Both his curveball and slider have shown improvement, and look to be at least average pitches at the next level, though he still needs to show more consistency with both pitches. That's a far cry from 2013, however, when one scout told me he would grade his pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale as a 60 fastball, 50 change and two 40 breaking balls.
That improved stuff has allowed May to be among the best starters in the International League, and though he didn't get off to the hottest of starts -- his ERA was 4.97 after his first six appearances -- he's been borderline dominant since mid-May, including a stretch of starts when he went 26 innings without giving up a run. His best start of the year might have been this past Monday against Pawtucket, however, as May struck out 11 in 8 1/3 innings while giving up just one run and three hits.
"That was an impressive outing," an AL East scout said. "Pawtucket's lineup isn't flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but there are big league players in it and he made a few of those guys look foolish. He commanded the fastball well, and there were a couple of changeups that he pulled the string on that I would call plus-plus. If you can do that consistently, you're going to be a quality big leaguer for a long time."
There's still work to be done for May -- particularly with the command -- and he's never going to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, but as a pitcher with three quality pitches and an idea of how to miss bats, he could be a quality pickup for your fantasy team for 2014 if/when the Twins decide to promote him at some point around the trade deadline.
Not only do we have three "new" names for the top 10 this week, we have a brand new top two as well. Let's get into it.