From the Minor League Ball mailbag, slightly edited:
“Pardon the language, but who the **** is Lou Trivino?”—-Bryan, from Wichita Falls, TX
Good question, Bryan.
Don’t feel bad, I do this stuff for a living and I didn’t know much (anything) about Lou Trivino until about nine months ago when he reached Triple-A. He earned a spot on the Oakland Athletics 40-man roster last fall and has been on and off the 25-man this month. He’s thrown 4.2 innings in the majors so far over three games, has given up five hits but zero runs, walking one but striking out eight. That’s a nice debut.
So, who is he?
Lou Trivino was drafted in the 11th round in 2013 out of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He was a starter in college and a damn good one (1.99 ERA in 212 innings over three seasons, 217 strikeouts, 90 walks but only one homer allowed in his entire NCAA career) but found the going in pro ball more difficult, struggling in Low-A.
He converted to relief full-time in 2016 and found his niche, jumping from High-A to Triple-A quickly. He posted a 3.03 ERA in 68 innings in ‘17 between Double-A and Triple-A with a 65/21 K/BB, then opened ‘18 with 10 strikeouts and just one walk over five frames with Nashville.
Trivino is 6-5, 225, age 26, born October 1, 1991. He throws quite hard, 96-99 MPH, hitting 100-101 on occasion. He also has a low-90s cutter with plus grades and uses a curve in the low/mid-80s to give hitters a different look when necessary. He is a definite ground ball pitcher and hasn’t given up a home run since August 3rd, 2016.
Trivino did have occasional issues with left-handed hitters in the minors and at this point he looks more like a middle or short reliever than a potential closer, which could limit his fantasy appeal depending on the context. That said, there’s no question about his stuff so it all boils down to command here. When he has it, he’s a tough customer and could have a very productive career in big league pens.