Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Trevor Hildenberger made his major league debut this past Friday, throwing a scoreless inning of relief against the Cleveland Indians. Here’s a quick take on his past and his possible future.
Trevor Hildenberger was an effective relief pitcher with the University of California Golden Bears in 2014, posting a 2.83 ERA in 48 innings with 10 saves and a 48/11 K/BB. He was also an older senior at age 23, dropping to the 22nd round of the ‘14 draft.
That looks like a bargain as he’s zipped through the minors quickly, posting a stunning 0.75 ERA in 2016 with 53/6 K/BB in 49 innings between High-A and Double-A. He’s remained very effective in 2017, with a 2.05 ERA in 31 inning for Triple-A Rochester with a 35/8 K/BB.
Hildenberger was rated as a Grade C+ prospect pre-season. He was unranked among the Minnesota Twins Top 20 prospects for 2017 but would have fit into the 21-25 range.
Listed at 6-2, 211, Hildenberger is a right-handed hitter and thrower born December 15th, 1990. He attacks hitters from a low arm slot and generates a large number of ground balls with his sinker and slider. While his velocity isn’t exceptional (he tops out at 94 and is usually 89-91 with his sinker), his control is quite sharp, plus the unusual angle adds deception and enables him to shut down right-handed hitters. They hit just .208 against him in Triple-A and a mere .145 in Double-A in ‘16.
Hildenberger could have a nice career as a “get the ground ball” short reliever.