by Jake Mintz
FOX Sports MLB Writer
So much went for New York Yankees in 2022.
Aaron Judge on fire. Shooting rotation remained remarkably intact. Nestor Cortes It is apparently the 10 best pitchers in the world. Clay Holmes It turned out to be the best abode in baseball. until Joey Gallo And the Aaron Hicks I started hitting.
But the most surprising development that surrounded New York’s scorching start (along with Nasty Nestor) was the rise of Jose Trevino.
The Yankees got it from Texas On April 2, just five days before Opening Day, that staunch backing became an incredibly popular and irreplaceable part of the best baseball team, something no one expected.
In parts of four seasons with Rangers, Trevino was just another big player. He was a great defensive hitter, sure, but he was a truly forgettable hitter who cut .245/.270/.364 in just nine queues in over 519 games.
But two months into his tenure at the Yankees, the 5-foot-11 Texan was one of the best hitters in the game. Heading into play on Sunday, Trevino ranked fourth in baseball by WRC+ (Statistics summarizing a player’s overall offensive production and adapting to external influences), just behind the Contreras brothersWilson And the William) And the Alejandro Kirk.
That’s not what GM Brian Cashman & Co. likely expected when they approached Trevino as a defensive-minded reserve striker.
When Ben Rortvedtwho acquired Yank Minnesota In the Gary Sanchez Deal to be backup behind Kyle Higashiokaafter sustaining a slash at the end of spring training, Cashman realized he needed to improve the club’s capture depth.
On the afternoon of April 2, Cashman was scheduled to attend a game at his alma mater, the Third Class Catholic University in Washington, D.C., before attending Entering the school’s sports hall of fame.
But an hour or so before the premiere started, Cashman phoned assistant Catholic coach Bobby Picardo and told him he would have to miss the match because he “needs a player trade-off.” When he attended the banquet, Cashman realized he had forgotten his phone charger. Picardo gave him his, and Trevino was a Yankee by nightfall.
At the time, that deal, in which two young players went to Texas, was considered little more than an emergency depth move. The Yankees had already telegraphed their eye-catching strategy by trading Sanchez for the Higashioka/Rortvedt combination, clearly willing to chase offensive production in exchange for elite framing and consistency in the most important position on the field.
In comments to the media after the team acquired Trevino, manager Aaron Boone spoke at length about his defensive prowess, his framing acumen and how eager the club is to get him to keep pace with the show’s crew.
Few notes had anything to do with the Trevino crime.
Two months later, Jose Trevino has a higher OPS than Josh Donaldson.
Even as Trevino was living the life of a limited offensive reserve catcher with Rangers, he continued at a clip above the league average. Sure, most of that connection has been unbent and pointless, but a lot of the top players (half of them, if you want to be semantic) don’t hit the ball at the league average. For Trevino, that was a solid foundation on which to build.
And by winter, he began to build. He’s made two big changes to his swing and one massive change to his off-season training program. On the board, he opens up his pre-court position a bit, and moves his front foot toward the third side of the base of the batter’s box. Trevino told FOX Sports that this adjustment greatly improved his ability to see pitches from a bowler’s hand, something that has been shown in his numbers this year, particularly his 6.6% drop in swing and miss rate.
The other new wrinkle is the leg kick. Trevino elevator Justin Turner– , Jose Bautista, a rockite-style movement, but it’s a noticeable change nonetheless. And while he didn’t hit the ball harder in 2022, he pulls the ball 6% more and lifts it 6% more in the air, both likely as a result of the leg kick.
On top of that, instead of his usual off-season routine, which included plenty of sprints and forward flips, this winter he opted for Trevino for more pitch recognition training and high-speed hitting practice against the machines. That work on his swing vision and decisions seems to have paid off, with Trevino’s massive swing low and the clue missing in the candy.
While the Yankees advocate high-speed training for decision-making, Trevino told FOX Sports he agreed to this more advanced approach before it was traded.
In fact, Trevino is probably more than a 95-100 OPS+ hitter in the big league, which is what the hit ball data indicates. But for Musk who is widely seen as a top-of-the-charts shooter who has played a large part in New York’s exceptional pot performance this season, the league’s average production with the bat makes Trevino an incredibly valuable player.
Altogether, it’s an almost unimaginable height for a man who 10 weeks ago was considered the third best hunter in the Texas Rangers.
Jake Mintz is the top half of Tweet embed and baseball writer for FOX Sports. He is a fan of the Orioles and lives in New York City, thus leading a secluded life in most October residents. If he’s not watching baseball, he’s almost certainly riding his bike. You can follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.
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