EL PASO, Texas — Trevor Megill, 25, has always been hard to miss both on a baseball field, because of his size and his potential.
The 6-foot-8 righty had a promising first two years at Loyola Marymount University before going down with Tommy John surgery in 2014. He was still drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Cardinals, but returned to the Lions for his third year, finishing with a 3.60 ERA in 70 innings with 70 strikeouts against 37 walks.
The Padres thought they got a steal when they picked the Orange County native in the seventh round of A.J. Preller’s first draft with the Padres in 2015. Megill got off to a strong start, posting a 3.16 ERA between the AZL and the short-season Tri-City Dust Devils with 43 strikeouts against 11 walks in his first professional summer.
Then Megill missed all of 2016 with bone spurs and battled various injuries throughout 2017 and 2018. Finally mostly healthy, Megill has bounced back this year, already notching a career-high 53.2 innings at three levels.
With El Paso, where he’s been since the end of May, he has 58 strikeouts against 15 walks in 42.1 innings. He is striking out 31.9% of the batters he’s faced, and his 8.2 percent walk-rate is the lowest of his career.
We caught up with Trevor on our trip to the Sun City to talk about overcoming injuries and his move to the bullpen.
MadFriars: How tall are you?
Trevor Megill: I’m just under 6-foot-8, but I’ve been listed before at 6-foot-7 and 250-pounds.
Can you go over what you throw?
Trevor Megill: I throw a four-seam fastball, slider, and a curveball.
What is the velocity?
Trevor Megill: It depends on the day. It can get up to 97, or 92 to 94.
When I saw you pitch in Tri-City a few years ago, you were coming straight over the top, so it seemed like the hitter is always trying to swing up.
Trevor Megill: Yes, because a lot of the swing paths that we see today are up and my angle when I throw — either up or down in the zone — plays in my favor.
My goal is always to spin as true as possible. If the hitter is looking at it and the seams are spinning perfectly backward, it looks like a fastball they want to swing at when in reality it a fastball with their eyes is that lands around their knees.
You have had a few injuries since you were drafted, can you go over them?
Trevor Megill: In 2016, I had bone spurs removed from my elbow. I had a flexor strain a few times, but I think I finally found the recipe to stay healthy and on the field.
Looking at the strong year you’ve had and staying on the field consistently, I imagine the only thing you want to improve upon is your walk ratio?
Trevor Megill: The last two weeks I’ve walked something like six batters, which is more than I have in a long time. I’ve been pretty good at getting ahead of hitters then putting them away. Recently, I’ve been getting behind and getting negative results.
Overall, I think the positives outweigh the negatives this year.
You have more pitches than the average reliever, most of whom are two-pitch pitchers. Are you pretty confident in all three?
Trevor Megill: Yes, I came up as a starter in college and have always had a good curveball – well, I think I do – the next piece was putting a slider in there that was competitive at the higher levels.
That’s what I spent my offseason working on. So I moved now to more of a fastball-slider pitcher, with the curveball being a free strike pitch. The curveball works off of the high fastball, and the slider works off the fastballs in or the fastballs down.
Converting from starting to relief work means a different routine. You seem to have thrived on the change; how did you get so comfortable with that role?
Trevor Megill: After the 2016 season when I missed the whole year with injuries I just sat down and told them that I wanted to be a reliever because I thought I had a better chance of being healthy that way. I want to succeed and make it to the big leagues, which is the goal.
With my skill set and arsenal, I had a chance to succeed. We gave it a try, and here we are.
Your brother, Tylor, who was also drafted as a pitcher, is also a big guy [the ‘little’ sibling is 6-foot-7 and 230-pounds]. I was wondering what Thanksgiving must be like at your house; is there a 40-pound turkey?
Trevor Megill: [laughs] I think I remember that article, only it wasn’t from you guys. We have a large Thanksgiving. We go up to Bishop, California every single year. We bring the whole family, and some of them go out and hunt, and they will prepare some of the meats from that, and also, we do have a very big turkey.