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Losing Trevor May will cost the Twins two wins, projection system says

Jun 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Trevor May (65) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

You may remember a few weeks ago when we wrote and talked about how the Twins might be better than many are expecting. Well, that basic premise still exists, but after Trevor May tore a ligament in his elbow that rosy optimism has been subdued a little bit.

I wrote at the time May’s injury was revealed that it was a blow for the Twins. I figure that either J.O. Berrios or Adalberto Mejia will get that extra spot in the starting rotation at the beginning of the season. There were critics, of course, who felt I was giving May a little too much credit here. After all, he hasn’t been a starter since early in 2015, and last year he got hurt in the bullpen and posted a 5.27 ERA in 42 2/3 innings.

Fair enough. I just felt that a deeper look at the numbers and the process that went into his performance revealed a guy who was ready to take the responsibility of being a starter. He might have been even more equipped for the job some of the four starters who are being subtly promised a starting role, but I guess nothing is proven until it’s done, and now May won’t have the opportunity to test that hypothesis this season.

May will get a second opinion on the torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his right elbow on Tuesday from Dr. Keith Meister, Twins GM Thad Levine said Friday. It’s not clear yet what he’ll decide to do, but the overwhelming likelihood in a situation like this for a player who wants to return is to have Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. We’ll see what happens.

And I’m not the only one who was bullish on May as a pitcher. Apparently the projection system developed by Nate Silver, PECOTA, has downgraded the Twins. Baseball Prospectus editor Aaron Gleeman pointed out on Twitter that Minnesota is now projected to win 78 games this season. They had been picked earlier to finish second in the American League Central with 80 wins, according to PECOTA. There are probably a number of factors — beyond just May — that went into the reworking of the numbers. But for Minnesota, it’s the most significant thing that’s changed in the past several weeks. FanGraphs currently projects the Twins to finish 75-87 and finish fourth in the A.L. Central.

I saw May as a guy with the ability to be a solid mid-rotation starter. Now we won’t get to test that theory until 2018, and this year’s Twins team could be a little worse off for it.

Wetmore’s 2017 Twins outlook: Twins should convert Trevor May back into a starter

 





twins

Previous Story With young talent getting to the big leagues, Twins fall in prospect rankings Next Story Mining the Minors: Gonsalves’ shoulder flares up; Mejia Impresses