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2017 Prospect Year In Review: Jose Trevino

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Taking a look at a complex year for the Rangers’ catcher

Jose Trevino
Credit to me

Jose Trevino Scouting Report and Year in Review:

[Hello, LSB. It’s your best friend, Coylio. With the regular season coming to a close for all of the Rangers’ Minor League affiliates I wanted to keep yall updated with how the kids fared in 2017. I’ll be posting these sporadically over the next couple-few weeks. I plan on being pretty casual with it; they’re not going to be in any particular order, I’ll be grouping some together, and I’ll be mixing in the more serious prospects along with guys who are just fun to read and write about, or ones whose seasons contained some intrigue. Today it’s Jose Trevino, fan-favorite and not-quite-yet-MLB-ready catching prospect.]

Let’s just get the bad part out of the way first.

The bat was not good this year for Jose Trevino. After putting up three solid (or at least, solid for someone with his profile) offensive seasons in the first three years of his professional career, he bottomed out in 2017 for AA Frisco. His average, on-base, and slugging all dropped 60-100 points from last year in High Desert. After showing some pop the last couple seasons it pretty much evaporated this year, as Trevino nearly grounded into as many double plays as he had extra base hits. The strikeout rate is good. The walk rate is okay. He just didn’t hit the ball hard, and his struggles plagued him for the entire season.

The raw power is there, obviously. He hit 25 homers over the last two seasons. He has a typical beefy catcher’s body that you would think would be able to put a charge into a ball, at least on an occasional basis. That’s really all that would be realistically desired from a glove-first catcher anyway. In fact, if there was one aspect of Trevino’s game he could afford to have fall off, it’s the bat.

For a lot of the season it looked like a swing plane issue. It seemed, sitting at the games and seeing a ton of his ABs, that he was hitting the ball on the ground like 90 percent of the time. The eye test and a .256 BABIP suggested the ball just wasn’t going anywhere off his bat. Fangraphs has his ground ball rate at 48 percent, 2 percent lower than last season and third on the team behind Scott Heineman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and it hovered around that mark all season. Not outrageous, like I thought it would be. Maybe it’s a swing issue, maybe he wore down catching 100 games in the hot summer after spending last year catching 100 games in the even hotter summer. Whatever it is, the coaching staff was surely working with Jose all year to fix it, and he’s set the precedent to make me think that he’ll bust his ass in the offseason to improve on it next year.

Enough bad stuff, because Jose Trevino is a whole lot more than a rough offensive year at AA.

And it’s not like his season was devoid of big moments. A few of the 7 homers came at very opportune times. In June he hit a late 3-run monster to essentially end a road game in Midland. On July 3rd he homered and drove in 5 RBIs, including the game-winner in the 8th inning, as the RoughRiders beat the Springfield Cardinals on FSSW. Easily the top Trevino highlight was hitting his first homer of the year on the first pitch he saw in his hometown of Corpus Christi. Watch him fail to stifle a smile rounding third as his family and friends go nuts in the stands.

Past the bat, Trevino has matured into a very solid backstop, physically and mentally. He’s stocky but athletic, with a strong arm and an increasingly-quick throwing motion. He threw out 41% of base-stealers. Trevino has turned into a great blocker, allowing only 3 passed balls in 850-something innings, which, with some of the Riders’ pitching problems this year, was huge.

Trevino has also become almost alarmingly good at managing a pitching staff, for a 24-year-old with only 3 years of full-time catching under his belt (although according to reports he was good at managing a pitching staff as a 2nd and 3rd baseman, as well). It’s easy for even a casual fan to see that he carries some authority when he walks out to the pitcher’s mound, and the Riders pitchers sang his praises quite a bit. Sadzeck talked about him pre-season, Gardewine talked about him upon his first call-up. Nick also hinted at a strong sense of accountability across the Frisco clubhouse and you gotta think Trevino was a big part of that. And then he’ll go and do stuff like this to show he’s not a cold, severe baseball robot.

What Trevino has between the ears is an asset to everyone around him. From all accounts he’s a phenomenal leader, one who rolls out of bed in the morning ready to accept the team captain role. Assuming he carves out a decent major league career (which I still think is very likely) he’s going to be someone that’s used as a mouthpiece for the team, because he’s very well-spoken and has a clear understanding of both the game and of the team dynamic. This positive makeup goes beyond the lines, as well. The RoughRiders as an organization are great about autographs and pictures, and Trevino is at the head of that, often seen down the 3rd baseline signing for kids both before and after games. As mentioned before, Trevino is from Corpus Christi, and after Hurricane Harvey when the RoughRiders and the Corpus Christi Hooks banded together to raise some donations, it was Trevino front and center in the promo video.

The kid’s just got it all upstairs, and you can’t help but pull for him to have a better 2018. It appears he won’t be getting a late-season ML callup, but he should be added to the 40-man this winter, and he’ll spend another spring playing with the big boys before being sent down to sharpen his teeth a bit more behind the plate and with the stick. Where he goes will depend largely on the Rangers catching depth as an organization, combined with what they want to do with backup catcher slash starting infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who’s around the same age/proximity to ML. Is Trevino going to be the 3rd catcher on the organizational ladder? Or will they add someone between himself, Chirinos and Nicholas? I would guess that Trevino spends a bit more time at the AA level to start 2018 and makes the jump into AAA at some point around the halfway mark, and he should make his Major League debut sometime next summer, either in September or earlier due to injury.

Trev had a great year everywhere except at the plate, where he still had some exciting moments. He’ll be somewhere around the Rangers’ top 10 to start next season and he still projects as a major league catcher due to the glove and the makeup. He was one of the highlights of the RoughRiders season, and if there’s one young player in the Rangers’ org you could be sure will shake off an iffy year with the bat, it’s Trevino.

Thanks for reading, more of these next week.

Yours in professionalism,

Coylio