Today’s edition went out to subscribers this afternoon. It centers on Trevor May, who changed the grip on his slider and immediately found something back in the early stages of the season. I wrote about that adjustment and its importance for May at Baseball Prospectus just after Memorial Day, but it didn’t translate to great results right away. Three months later, however, that’s changing. Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter:
In August, he has seven whiffs on the slider. He’s gradually ramped up the spin rate on the pitch; it now approaches 2,600 revolutions per minute. With a slider he can command so much better and a fastball he’s trusting more than ever, he reemerged as a dominant force in Minnesota’s muddled bullpen. It’s very difficult to maintain command and execution of four different pitches as a reliever, and May made the right choice when he junked the curve instead of the slider. Now, he can cut loose with the same arm action on everything he throws, and he’s more comfortable with all three offerings.
Here’s one thing worth noting: regular, predictable usage patterns might benefit May quite a bit. After the first appearance of his encouraging stretch, he went another five days without taking the mound, and was asked for just one out when he did return. Since then, however, he has pitched almost exactly every third day, sometimes getting as many as six outs at a time. If the Twins think he’s benefiting from that routine, they might consider shifting him to an opener role. They could certainly use someone to pad the landing in each game for Martín Pérez, and arguably, Kyle Gibson and José Berríos could use the same. If the team doesn’t want to mess with either Gibson or Berríos based on their seniority in the rotation, they could have May open for Pérez each time through the rotation and then lurk as a short reliever for a couple of games between those games.
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