Trevor May's 2021 self-assessment and goals for 2022

New York Mets v New York Yankees - Game Two
New York Mets v New York Yankees - Game Two / Steven Ryan/GettyImages

The New York Mets have a unique personality in relief pitcher Trevor May. Between his Youtube channel and his co-host appearances on The Chris Rose Rotation, fans get a behind-the-scenes look at a side of professional athletes that often goes unseen. 

May starts the video by explaining that his goals vary in terms of the amount of control he has over them. He accomplished four of the seven:

  1. Stay healthy for a full season ✅
  2. Make the playoffs ❌
  3. CQR (Command Quality Ratio) of 60% ❌
  4. Record physical data for all outings (Recovery)  ✅
  5. Improve Movement Profile ✅
  6. Lower walk rate from 2020 ❌
  7. Improve diet and play at 245lbs ✅

May explained his rational behind setting these goals, what worked, and what didn't. Some were personal goals and some were oriented towards the Mets as a team.

May then goes into detail about CQR and Movement Profile. “Those two items work really closely together to remove the actual, on-the-field results from the way I think about success. There are so many things that go into your statline for the day, including defense, weather,... and luck. I try to remove as much of that as I can so that I can distill only my performance and what I have full control over.”

CQR is a stat that May invented and keeps track of on his own. CQR is based off of his plan of attack. If he throws a pitch where he wants to, he gives himself a point. It doesn’t matter if it gets hit, this is simply about tracking command and location. May gives himself half of a point if he throws a pitch that misses the exact location, but it misses in a good spot (usually out of the strike zone). For example, if he’s trying to throw a fastball at the top of the strike zone and he misses high, that’s a good miss because a hitter can’t do damage on that pitch.

This information comes from his spots diagram. May wants his fastball to stay up in the zone most of the time, but when he tries to use it low in the zone, he wants it on the corners. He tries to throw his slider low and away to righties/low and into lefties, while using his changeup on the opposite side of the plate and low. 

Movement Profile describes a pitcher’s stuff. For May, that means throwing a fastball with ride, a slider with good vertical drop, and a straight changeup that has good velocity separation from his fastball. May is a North/South pitcher, aiming to create tunnels with his fastball up, his slider that has sharp vertical break, and his changeup that has separation from his fastball.

He then pulls up his Baseball Savant page and shows his heat maps. His fastball was up, but it stayed away from righties most of the time. He didn’t go to the inside corner very often, which is something he wants to work on. The slider was consistently low and away to righties, but May wants to throw it for a strike more often. The changeup was over the plate way too much. He’s going to work on commanding that better.

He then looks at his expected stats. May starts with his changeup, which had a .341 batting average against, but only a .248 expected batting average against. He explains that the actual batting average is higher than the expected due to the locations over the plate. Then he looks at his fastball, which had a .217 batting average against and a .176 expected batting average against. The expected is lower in this case because his fastball had good ride and got so many swings and misses (33% whiff rate).

“It’s a theme for me,” May said about the expected numbers being lower than the actual numbers. “It comes down to locating. When you look at these things, it’s how hard balls are hit, defense, shifting, parks… that’s all factored into expected stats, but execution is what changes it. So when I see an expected [stat] is lower than the actual stat, it tells me my command lacked at times and got me in trouble.

May then goes into his goals for 2022:

  1. Stay healthy
  2. Make the playoffs
  3. CQR 65%+
  4. Record all outing physical data (Recovery)
  5. Maximize Four-seam Fastball (FF) Vertical Drop
  6. Design changeup (CH) to maximize movement
  7. Maximize slider (SL) movement, vary horizontal variations, improve command
  8. Lower walk rate from 2021

These goals lead into a plan for this offseason. He talks about trying new slider grips to get better horizontal break. He looks up his spin numbers and finds out that his changeup spins more efficiently than his fastball, which annoys him a little bit. He explains that you want your fastball to have higher efficiency so that it holds its plane and batters swing under it. If you have a changeup that hitters are swinging under, it’s a recipe for disaster. May is going to look into changing his grip from a circle changeup to more of a split change, which should help drastically.

I thought it was really interesting to see how a Major Leaguer evaluates himself. So much of what these guys do, particularly in the offseason, goes unnoticed. Thank you to Trevor May for sharing all of this, I look forward to seeing more. Check out May's Youtube channel and the Chris Rose Rotation.

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