The Situation: Nomar Mazara started the whole mess by throwing a perfectly accurate one hop throw to Robinson Chirinos with Matt Kemp barreling around third and gunning for home. Kemp lowered his shoulder into the hit as he rammed into Chirinos who was blocking Kemp’s way home. As Kemp came up, he shoved off Chirinos and Chirinos shoved back, which started a bench clearing brawl. Both were suspended so the Rangers needed emergency help at catcher as a backup. In the second inning of Trevino’s bench role, Carlos Perez left the game with an ankle sprain and landed on the 10-day DL and Trevino became the backup catcher for the time being.
The Background: A Native Texan, Trevino was drafted in the sixth round by the Rangers in the 2014 amateur draft out of Oral Roberts University. He was drafted as a third baseman, but was quickly transitioned to catching full time by his second season. He quickly warmed to the position and earned a reputation as a quality defender and leader behind home plate at every level he played in. The bat lagged behind a bit, but there was some optimism after he put up a slash of .303/.342/.434 in High-A ball even though the desert helped his offensive output. In 2017, Trevino struggled through his first time through Double-A as he posted a career low .598 OPS. Early in 2018 it appeared to be more of the same, but after returning from injury, Trevino showed off a new approach at the plate that was much more selective and it made the call for his services in the MLB easier to stomach.
Scouting Report: At 5-foot-10, 215 pounds, Trevino fits the stereotypical catcher’s build with thick muscle in the lower half while carrying some extra bad weight on his frame. He is a well above-average athlete for the position and moves relatively well both in terms of quickness and foot speed. Trevino has quality coordination and he shows it with both his mechanics behind the plate and with his ability to make contact with the baseball.
He can get a bit long with the swing as he bars his arm out, but he generates above-average bat speed and has the ability to adjust shoulder plane well to the ball. His coordination and adjustable swing allow him to make contact with different pitch types and locations despite the length. Trevino’s swing is almost completely flat with no plane and occasionally even has downward plane which creates a batted ball profile that is heavy in low liners and ground balls. When he gets under the ball enough, his average raw power allows him to easily pull a ball out for a home run. Unless the swing is adjusted for better plane, his power output will be well below average.
Trevino’s approach is aggressive and he attacks pitches all around the zone. His quality contact abilities allow him to connect with pitches out of the zone, but often as weak contact. He’d be much better off with a less aggressive approach early in the count where he could look for something to drive. In 2018 he has improved there and he should continue to improve with experience.
Without an adjustment to Trevino’s swing plane, Trevino will likely hit for a well below average batting average while adding neither quality power or on base skills due to his aggressiveness and ground ball heavy results.
Trevino’s quality athleticism and quickness allows for quality footwork behind the plate. He is an advanced received with soft hands and an innate ability to frame pitches close to the zone. He is a quality blocker although he rarely misplays balls in the dirt when relying too much on his ability to block it with his glove instead of dropping to his knees. Trevino has plus arm strength and quality footwork to add to his quickness and he’s well above average at controlling the run game. Overall Trevino is a plus defensive catcher and will be an asset there on any team.
Trevino profiles as a backup catcher on a second-division team as his glove will likely carry his overall profile to many opportunities with a big league club. Trevino’s poor swing plane and aggressive approach create a large obstacle for his offensive abilities to overcome and without significant adjustment; will play well-below average at the MLB level. The physical talent will allow for more and if he’s able to make changes to his swing and approach, he could reach his potential as an MLB average backstop, but there’s a large gap there until then.
Immediate Big League Future: With Chirinos a little banged up from the collision and Carlos Perez on the DL, Trevino should get a start here and there. The Rangers aren’t in a must win position and they can afford to let Trevino get a nice cup of coffee before sending him back down when Perez is healthy and ready.