“Everyone wants to hear their name called by the Yankees,” Trevor Stephan said about the moment he heard his named called as the 92nd overall pick of the 2017 MLB Draft.
“It was a pretty special moment that I got to share with my family and friends.”
The 6-foot 5-inch tall, 225-pound right-handed played his college ball at the University of Arkansas where he led the team with a 2.97 ERA over 16 appearances in 2017.
Originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2016 draft out of Hill Junior College. He did not sign, instead opted to transfer to Arkansas where he became one of the best college pitchers in the southern United States.
After signing on June 27, 2017, he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Yankees where he made his professional debut.
“I was just getting my feet under me and getting used to the pro ball environment,” he told us.
He pitched in just one game down in Tampa, throwing two innings, striking out one batter and did not allow a hit or a walk. Stephan was then assigned to the Staten Island Yankees on July 1, 2017, before making his debut at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on July 4.
“New York is quite the place,” Stephan said, “It’s cool I get to live here for a few months and get to experience it.”
On the field, he is just getting used to talent level.
“Everyone is very talented and getting used to that is the biggest adjustment,” he said, “It’s still the same game. I am just getting my feet under me in pro ball. It is a little bit of a different atmosphere but the same foundation.”
Coming into his first professional season, he showcased a fastball that sits between 90-95 miles per hour but reached as high as 97 that plays up because of his deceptive delivery and above-average control. His secondary pitch was a slider, and he also had a changeup that was rarely seen.
With the Yankees though, the development of the change up as been a priority.
“We developed a changeup, we have spent a lot of time and effort into it,” said Staten Island pitching coach Travis Phelps in an interview with Yankees on Demand.
“He has done a tremendous job working on it on his own. He is now starting to throw it with confidence and is starting to put hitters away with it. He is developing very quickly a very good change up.”
The results have been positive thus far. Over nine games, eight starts, in the NY-Penn League he is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA, striking out 39 batters in 28 1/3 innings.
“It is a rewarding pitch,” Stephan told Yankees on Demand, “but if you leave it up in the zone, it can be sent back very quickly. Feel wise; it is pretty similar to the fastball. Just got to trust it to have depth.”
“He has shown flashes,” said Staten Island Yankees manager Julio Mosquera. “We can see that it is coming, but you don’t want to rush things.”
Stephan works hard to get better and prepare for his starts. He goes through a rigorous routine in between starts that help him be ready to take the mound.
“Trevor is like no other pitcher I have been around before with his routine,” said Phelps, “His thought process, his purpose for everything he does is not wrong. It’s intriguing, and I am learning as much from him as he is from me. “
“He prepares himself to pitch without actually throwing the baseball. He does drills; he does exercises to loosen his entire body to the point he doesn’t need to throw that much before he can step on the mound and get ready to pitch in a baseball game.”
For most of his starts, Stephan has been working in tandem with Glenn Otto; someone Stephan has known since they were young.
“Trevor is rolling,” Otto said about his teammate.
“He has done a heck of a job this year, and he is still going out there and competing, throwing strikes.”
His ability to throw strikes consistently has earned praise from his coaches.
“He attacks the hitters,” said Mosquera, “keeps the ball around the strike zone. He mixes his pitches and uses every area of the plate. That is nice to see, that is what we preach in the organization, attack, attack, attack and it is happy to see it from them.”
When it is all said and done Trevor Stephan has been impressive in his first season as a professional pitcher and is developing well, time will tel if he remains in the rotation or is destined for the bullpen.