Consistent Work is Key to Trevor May's Success

The 31-year-old right-hander always struck me as the blue-collar type

On Tuesday, New York Mets right-hander Trevor May asked his Twitter followers if there were any places in Queens, “where you can go in with a sledgehammer and just DESTROY STUFF,” if you needed an idea of where his head’s at these days.

Since his streak of 12 scoreless appearances ended on May 11, May has an 8.68 ERA with a .349/.404/.814 slash against, including five home runs allowed over 11 appearances (9.1 IP). Not great.

Though, there is a distinct difference between his tremendous early stretch (1.46 ERA, 16 strikeouts, two walks, no home runs allowed in 12.1 IP; 13 appearances) and the doldrums he’s found himself in recently.

Over his first 13 games — outside of the string of postponements that the Mets endured in April — May never went more than two days without an appearance.

Notably, from April 20 through May 8, the right-hander pitched seven times in 11 days (three hits in 24 at-bats, eight strikeouts no walks).

Presumably just what the Mets had in mind when they inked him to a two-year, $15.5 million deal last winter.

Simply Amazin' Ep. 102

Since then, May’s pitched on consecutive days twice, had two days off between appearances once, and has pitched on three-or-more-days rest seven times, including a four-day break, a six-day break, and an eight-day stretch (June 6 to June 14) with no action.

From an outside point of view, it appears Trevor May thrives when he’s pitching consistently and that long layoffs have the opposite effect on him. Though, I’m no expert, of course.

After allowing two earned runs on three hits to the Phillies on Opening Day*, May now-famously lobbied Mets manager Luis Rojas to let him get back out there the following day and work through it.

We just spoke about where that led.

Whether May is dealing with an injury (ramping up after a herky-jerky 2020 will have those effects, as we’ve seen) or has simply lost his feel for the outside edges of the zone (meatball city lately), the 31-year-old is undoubtedly struggling.

One theory is that May’s four-seam — which succeeded to the tune of a -20 run value in 2019 — has become somewhat predictable.

Below, you’ll see May’s location heap maps from 2019 and 2021. Notice how his four-seam is all over the zone in 2019 but much more centralized this season.

Again, amateur opinion.

But with the hitter’s ability to pinpoint the path of the four-seam early — which May is practically telegraphing by putting a large portion of them in the same spot — it allows batters to similarly pick out his secondary stuff, cherry-pick their pitches, and, boom, tables are turned.

Outside of his slider (.227/.289/.409; wOBA for middle slash), May’s individual pitches are getting hammered.

His four-seamer (.150/.227/.242 against in 2019) is getting tuned up to a .271/.377/.563 line and the changeup is getting hit at a .368/.364/.474 clip. That’s just not going to play.

With the Mets’ relief corps absolutely cruising these days (2.9 wins above replacement as a unit, fourth in MLB; 3.70 ERA ranks eighth), any current vulnerability May might pose is well protected by his ‘pen-mates.

Though, as the season trudges on and inconsistency or injuries rear their heads once again, May’s going to be counted on to get outs.

Judging by his recent track record, getting him out there on a regular basis, in turn allowing him to regain that pinpoint command that’s taken him this far, could be a prudent course of action.

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