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Prospect Q&A: May finds his groove
Phillies top prospect seeking consistency, spinning records
02/02/2012 10:34 AM ET
Trevor May led the Florida State League with 208 strikeouts last season.
Trevor May led the Florida State League with 208 strikeouts last season. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)
Trevor May made a lot of noise throughout 2011 and he's continuing to do so in the offseason.

Recently selected as MLB.com's No. 54 prospect, May was one of three Minor Leaguers to eclipse the 200-strikeout mark last year. He was the first Phillies farmhand to strike out more than 180 batters since Mark Davis in 1985. May finished 10-8 with a 3.63 ERA, was named a Florida State League All-Star and ended the season as Philadelphia's top prospect.



A 2008 fourth-round Draft pick out of high school in Washington, May spoke with MiLB.com about his breakout campaign and what he's been doing during the offseason.

MiLB.com: What went right for you in 2011?

Trevor May: I feel like a series of things went right. I feel like baseball-wise the changeup came right along and became a third weapon along with my fastball and curveball. Three is always better than two, and it definitely helped me produce the strikeout numbers. I worked deeper into games and was able to mix it up pretty good. I feel like my consistency came along pretty good and I was able to string quality starts together. Thirdly, the mental side of the game, I added some mental exercises. The Phillies hired a guy named Jack Curtis, who works with the mental side, and I've been working with him and doing some stuff on my own.

MiLB.com: What do you think you need to work on for 2012?

May: I think that, like I said, my consistency came a long way this last year, but I feel like there's a switch that needs to be flipped where I find out where exactly all the pitches click and kind of just feel like I'm getting to the cusp, and I'm going to get over the peak of the mountain where walks aren't an issue at all and just consistently going out and having the same focus and same approach every time out. I feel like that comes along with experience and maturity as a pitcher, and I feel like this year especially it's going to come, and once it does, it's only a matter of time before I reach the goal of the big leagues.

MiLB.com It appears you'll start the year at Double-A. Knowing you're that close to the Majors, do you feel that puts a lot of pressure on you?

May: As for pressure, they say Double-A is right there knocking on the door, but I just try to think of it as another step forward instead of how close and how much pressure you can put on yourself to do anything. Especially when they do these prospect rankings, I make it a priority to try to stay grounded and the goal is the same no matter what level I'm at, and it's just to get better every day. Whatever level you're at, you want to be at one higher until you're at the big leagues. Even then, when you're in the big leagues, you still want to a better pitcher than you are then.

It's all about simplifying things for me. There's always going to be a little bit of pressure -- it's always going to be in the back of your mind that there are people counting on you, whether it be your organization or your family or friends. But when it comes down to it, it's a single purpose and a single goal, and if I keep my mind on it, the pressure is not that big of a deal.

MiLB.com: Your home and road numbers in 2011 were nearly identical. Does pitching on the road not affect you?

May: It's far from that. In past years, I've had much better numbers on the road. I honestly think I come in with a mystery factor on the road. I don't why that is. I feel like the team doesn't know me and I have an advantage. And these guys are doing their scouting reports and by the fourth time, these guys know who I am and what I throw. I don't know why, it just feels like the element of surprise. Either way, I'm comfortable at home, I get to sleep in my own bed and all that stuff. On the road, I just try to take that mind-set. It definitely helps.

MiLB.com: How proud are you of the fact that you were the Phillies' Minor League Pitcher of the Year?

May: It's awesome. I'm not going to lie: I knew I had a good season, but I was also on a team with 10 guys that had great seasons, so to be even mentioned was an honor. Kyle Drabek and Cole Hamels and all these guys that were No. 1 prospects and where they are now and the success they have seen and will see, it's exciting. I know that soon I'm going to be up there and it's going to happen. No matter how close I get to being on the big league squad, it's surreal until you've been doing it for a while and get comfortable. It's crazy to think about, especially because I'm from a small town. Every time I go home, I come down to earth a little bit and baseball seems like a dream to me. And then when I'm playing baseball, the other life seems like a dream. It was definitely an honor to be awarded Pitcher of the Year.

MiLB.com: What's your favorite way to spend an off day?

May: Some guys like to go to the beach and some guys like to go to the movies, but honestly, if I could just sit in my room, watch some television or some DVDs and just hang out in my room on my computer, [I'm OK]. I'm kinda boring. Maybe finding new music -- I do enjoy finding new music.

MiLB.com: Have you found any new music recently?

May: Yeah, especially in the offseason, a lot of my time is spent finding new music. It's a lot of obscure house music and electronic music that people wouldn't identify with.

MiLB.com: What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't a baseball player?

May: My answer to this question has changed several times over the last few years. If you first asked me after I signed, I didn't know. In the offseason, I went to school to get a business degree and I feel like I'd be an entrepreneur. That's something I'm very anxious to be in and getting into finance. At the moment, I'm a DJ, but I think I'd still attempt to be a entrepreneur and get into the music business.

MiLB.com: How did you get into DJing?

May: Last offseason, I was at the Apple store with my girlfriend -- she was getting her computer fixed. Whenever I am in that store, I'm a huge tech guy. At one point, I had three laptops for no reason, just to do different things with. I just like gadgets and accessories. I was looking around and I saw this thing called the DJ Spin. It was like this little controller that is like turntables or whatever, and I was kind of interested in how you DJ. I bought it, it was just a toy to play around with and kill some time with. I took it with me in the season to mess around with and my roommates in Clearwater. We'd be going out or something and I'd hook it up and I'd play around with it and I was horrible. But I saw the reaction and how cool they thought it was and I kept practicing.

And this offseason, I came home, I did some house parties and they all really liked it. It slowly progressed from there. I met some people who do house parties, I upgraded my equipment, learned all about audio and now I have my own concert speakers. It's made me money and I've kind of lived off it in the offseason. Lots of guys get normal jobs in the offseason and I decided I wanted to try and become a DJ and it snowballed.

MiLB.com: What kind of music do you listen to before a game to pump yourself up?

May: I used to listen to some real heavy rock when I was in Lakewood. I actually listen to dubstep before I walk out. It's kind of mellow, it's hard to explain, but it definitely gets me pumped up. A lot of people, when they wake up or go to sleep, they have to have slower music, but I can constantly listen to techno and be in a good mood. It's weird and I don't know why.

MiLB.com: You said you're a huge tech guy and you like gadgets. What's your favorite?

May: There's lot of cool things. I love my iPhone, but in all honesty the gadget that I own that has had the most wear is the Kindle. I have an absolute ridiculous amount of books. It's the original one with the keyboard at the bottom and no touch screen. I have an iPad, but the Kindle has definitely gotten the most use.

MiLB.com: What was the last book you read?

May: It's a mini-series on HBO called Game of Thrones. I just read the fifth one, the latest that came out. It's called A Dance with Dragons. Awesome series.

MiLB.com: You were high school valedictorian, correct? What was your best subject?

May: Math. I was a very good math student. I did all the calculus and everything, and I guess that's why I'm interested in finance and numbers.

MiLB.com: What was your worst subject?

May: I think that English might have been the worst one. I think that they all might have been easy. I had all A's in every class, so it's hard to pick. I had to work the hardest at English.

MiLB.com: What team did you root for growing up? Did you have a favorite player?

May: The Seattle Mariners, as I am a northwest guy. That's about the only team in 1,000 miles of here. Randy Johnson. The guy was amazing, especially in 2001, when they won 116 games. They were an unstoppable team.

MiLB.com: What's the best ballpark to play in as a visitor?

May: There's two, one at each level. When I was with Lakewood, playing against the Greenville Drive, I always had success there. It's a cool stadium. I think it's called Fluor Field. Last year, pitching in [Class A Advanced], pitching in Tampa, I think it's called Steinbrenner Stadium [actually Steinbrenner Field]. I've thrown there, and I think I got some grief last year for this, like nine times, so I almost feel like it's home. Probably shouldn't have said that. I've thrown there quite a bit and I enjoy playing there. It's big -- that's always good.

MiLB.com: You recently did a question and answer on reddit.com. How did that come about?

May: My roommate and best friend is a huge "redditer" and this was just after the Baseball America came out. So he was like, "I wondered what would happen if we did one for you." I didn't even know how to do it, so I said write me up a title and we'll do it. I got a little grief from people for writing top prospect, but I feel like if I wrote just a Minors player no one would really care. He threw it up and before you know it, we had 600, 700 comments we had to reply to.

I had a lot of fun because there were a lot of questions that hadn't been asked before. I got some DJing questions and some high school guys who had actual questions about pitching, and I could help them out. Before I knew it, I was sitting there for four hours and we had 1,200 comments. We got on the front page of reddit, a website with 2 billion views -- it was exciting. My roommate was ecstatic. He was like, "Being on the front page is like a milestone or a world record."

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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