Jose Trevino remembers the first time he dressed, crouched and caught the ball at Oral Roberts University.
He had just finished a first-team All-American campaign as a third baseman in 2013 when the Golden Eagles decided he would move to the plate. Trevino rarely fished in high school, but he did as he was told and set it up to receive feed from the program’s feed machine – a test of sorts. He swears he fired 100 mph fastballs on his untested gauntlet right away. All the while, members of Oral Roberts’ coaching staff chanted the mantra.
All they kept saying was, “Catch this. Make it look easy!” Trevino recalled, laughing. “I think, ‘I don’t know if I’m made for this.’ Those days were hard.”
Such is, believe it or not, the unlikely origin story of the unlikely All-Star catcher. Trevino is one of six Yankees who were selected to compete in the Midsummer Classic, which will be played on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Trevino is regarded as an elite holding back, and the numbers back it up: No catcher has been the best player on the field this season. baseball savant catcher framing runs and strike statistics.
Trevino didn’t envision such a future behind the plate when he first tried the position, but his coaches knew better. Ryan Folmar, Oral Roberts’ longtime assistant and varsity head coach since 2013, first envisioned Trevino catching when they met at a high school rookie camp.
“Immediately I was like, ‘Dude, this guy is a catcher. I see this guy transitioning to being behind the plate at some point,” Vollmar said. “We knew this transition would be easy because he was such a good baseball player.
“He had all the non-material qualities, leadership qualities and toughness, everything that is needed for this position. And then there is the physical part. So everything somehow coincided, everything somehow coincided.
In the same year, Trevino became the starting catcher for the Golden Eagles, but another shift was waiting for him. He spent his youth campaign as a shortstop serving the team’s needs and was a sixth-round pick by the Texas Rangers in 2014. Texas chose him as an infielder, but Trevino soon realized that his future was tempting.
When he arrived at Class A Spokane in 2014, he unexpectedly found fishing gear in his locker. The coach suggested that Trevino ask his agent to bring in some new gloves for the night, and he soon found himself working behind the plate.
It was much harder work for him back then.
“I was very bad at it,” Trevino said. “I struggled with it. And I sat down alone, took out my diary and wrote. For example, if I want to be a major league player, this is this is what i have to do to get better. I just wrote down everything I needed to do to get better.”
These journal entries included almost every aspect of catching, including blocking, receiving, throwing, serving; “Everything,” said Trevino. This helped him become a full-time catcher in 2015 and has stayed at the plate ever since.
Despite all the early troubles, defense was not Trevino’s problem with the Rangers. A Texas native, he played in 156 major league games from 2018 to 2021, including a record-breaking 89 games last year, and has quietly established himself as a metrics darling, even if he didn’t add much value with his bat.
Trevino’s defense made him attractive to the Yankees when Ben Rortvedt, the young catcher the Yankees had acquired as the team’s understudy this season, was injured in spring training. On April 2, the Yankees made a deal with Trevino, sending minor league player Robbie Ahlstrom and reliever Albert Abreu to Texas.
For Trevino, who grew up rooting for the Yankees, it was a dream come true.
“I was glad for the change of scenery,” he said. “The Rangers were great for me, and great for me. They developed me, helped in everything. I can’t say anything bad about the Rangers. I don’t think I ever will. I am grateful for the time spent there, but I am very happy to be here.”
Forced to learn a new staff on the fly, Trevino does nothing but impress with his reception skills. His set-up often deceives referees, steals strikes from pitchers, who are also sometimes deceived.
“Actually, he cheated on us a couple of times where, because he’s so good there, I think it’s a strike,” said Michael King, the Yankees’ breakout star. “But then I come back and look at it and I’m two balls off. But because he’s so good at making it look like a strike, that’s fooling me. Everything is right there.”
While the Yankees knew what they were getting from Trevino’s glove, his bat was an open question. In four seasons with the Rangers, he hit .245 with a .634 on base plus slugging percentage, nine homers and 55 runs. According to the baseball handbook, he only had 0.5 wins over subs and his offense wiped out nearly all the value of his defense.
However, with the Yankees, Trevino was a more accomplished player. He hits .251 on the All-Star break with .714 OPS, seven homers and 27 RBI. yankee starter.
He was an All-Star, and not only because he is one of, if not in, the best catchers in the league,” Yankees manager Aaron Boon said. “He swings the bat very well.”
It was Boone who informed Trevino of his first All-Star appearance. The Yankees shared the conversation on social media on July 10. This time, Trevino kept repeating himself.
Twice he asked his manager if he was serious.
The emotional moment has been one of many for Trevino since he joined the Yankees.
Before his death in 2013, his father Joe dreamed that his son would one day wear pinstripes. The two of them practiced, and Joe represented Trevino as he prepared for the big moments at Yankee Stadium.
On May 24, Trevino released a single dedicated to Joe’s 69th birthday. Trevino added a second outing on June 10, his own son’s birthday.
Trevino is very happy to be a part of this experience. “The child in me is definitely excited,” he said. But Trevino has also set his sights on even bigger games for the Yankees in the future.
“I mean, the All-Star Game is great,” he said. Like, don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to be an All-Star, but that’s not what I’m here for. I want to win the championship. I want to win. “