Saturday, December 20, 2014

Trevor May makes his Double-A debut, but don't call him a Baby Ace

Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of the Baby Aces moniker that has become attached to the two or three or, depending on who is doing the labeling, four pitchers who starred together at Class A Clearwater last season. First and foremost, none of these guys are elite prospects, at least not according to the majority of media outlets that cover such things. In fact, only one of the two or three or four pitchers -- Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez -- was consistently ranked in the various Top 100 lists that were published this spring (most notably by Baseball America).

Trevor May makes his Double-A debut, but don't call him a Baby Ace

Trevor May is rated as the Phillies´ top minor league pitching prospect. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Trevor May is rated as the Phillies' top minor league pitching prospect. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of the Baby Aces moniker that has become attached to the two or three or, depending on who is doing the labeling, four pitchers who starred together at Class A Clearwater last season. First and foremost, none of these guys are elite prospects, at least not according to the majority of media outlets that cover such things. In fact, only one of the two or three or four pitchers -- Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez -- was consistently ranked in the various Top 100 lists that were published this spring (most notably by Baseball America).

Rays lefty Matt Moore? He's a Baby Ace. Tigers righty Jacob Turner? He's a Baby Ace. Yankees lefty Manny Banuelo? He's a Baby Ace.

May? He's ranked 69th in the nation by Baseball America, 19 spots below former teammate Jarred Cosart, who was the Clearwater pitcher who had the best claim to ace-dom, but who was traded to Houston as part of a package for Hunter Pence last July.

Put it this way: Ten other organizations have at least two pitchers ranked higher than May, the Phillies highest, and only, ranked pitcher. The Pirates have two pitchers in the Top 15. The Mariners have two in the Top 21, the Cardinals two in the Top 27, the Rangers two in the Top 31. The Diamondbacks have three pitchers in the Top 25, the Braves three in the Top 50. The Athletics? Baseball America ranks four of their pitchers as better prospects than May.

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That's not to slight May or any of the other young arms you might want to throw into the mix. Part of following the minor leagues is following them with context, and watching these guys with the thought that they will someday become aces isn't realistic, or, for that matter, fair.

Anyway, before I go suck an egg, the point of this post: Trevor May made his debut for Double-A Reading last night, picking up the victory against Portland. The strikeouts, 6 in 5 innings, were there, as they have been throughout his career with the Phillies. So too were the walks (3 of them). The final line: 4 runs on 3 hits in 5 innings, 5 groundouts, 3 flyouts, along with the aforementioned 6 strikeouts.

Since we're looking at that box score, Tyson Gillies went 4-for-5 with a triple and three runs, Jiwan James went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBI, while Leandro Castro went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs.

James and Castro are two of the more interesting under-the-radar prospects this season. The Phillies have been waiting for James' bat to come around for awhile now, but from what I saw in spring training his body gives you at least some reason to hope. He was always a kid who was remarkably, almost unhealthily, skinny for his 6-foot-4 frame. His MILB.com profile still lists him at 180 pounds. Well, trust me: the kid ain't 180 pounds anymore. Guy became a man over the offseason. Or maybe he started eating breakfast. Either way, his frame has filled out to the point where, eye-balling it, I'd put him at closer to 195 or 200 right now.

Castro, meanwhile, is just fun to watch at the plate. He has this short, compact frame that generates a quick sort of line-drive power. Last year, he hit 10 home runs in under 300 plate appearances. It wouldn't shock me to see him play his way up the radar this year.

Here's the article on May's performance from Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle



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