Name: Lou Trivino
Height/Weight: 6’5’’, 225
How Acquired: Selected in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Lou Trivino initially resisted moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen, but once a reliever, the right-hander flourished in his new role. With his stuff playing up, Trivino has positioned himself to compete for a spot in the Oakland A’s bullpen in 2018.
Although not a high-profile draft candidate coming out of Slippery Rock in 2013, Trivino was considered a sleeper pick by the A’s that year due to his arm strength. He began his career as a starter, pitching for short-season Vermont and Low-A Beloit in 2013 and 2014.
In 2015, Trivino started the season in the High-A Stockton Ports’ rotation. In nine starts, he posted a 5.45 ERA and a 36:20 K:BB in 39.2 innings. Although Trivino preferred to stay a starter, the A’s moved him to the bullpen that June. He quickly flourished in his new role. In 23 appearances, Trivino racked up 50 relief innings and posted a 2.70 ERA with a 42:24 K:BB. His fastball ticked up a few miles per hour as a reliever and he was more aggressive about throwing strikes. Opposing batters hit only .211 against him as a reliever and he cut his walk rate by a third.
Trivino returned to Stockton at the start of 2016, and he came armed with an improved fastball. After an off-season of new arm conditioning programs, Trivino saw his fastball jump from a high of 96 to a high of 101. Trivino’s results improved, as well. Although his ERA ticked up from his relief stint in 2015 to 3.03, his peripherals improved. He struck-out 49 in 41.2 innings and walked 18. The A’s promoted Trivino to Double-A late in the season and he helped the RockHounds reach the post-season and eventually win a title. In 18.1 regular season innings, Trivino had a 2.45 ERA for Midland.
At the start of the 2017 season, Trivino once again returned to where he finished the previous season. He spent the first half of the year with Midland and was dominant in 33.1 innings for the RockHounds. Trivino posted a 2.43 ERA and a 34:10 K:BB. He also had a 1.70 GO/AO and allowed no home runs. Trivino continued to pitch well after a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Nashville. In 35 innings with the Sounds, he had a 3.60 ERA and a 31:11 K:BB.
Although Trivino has moved into a bullpen role, he still has multiple weapons to choose from, much like a starter. His four-seam fastball sits 96-98, touching 101, and he can also turn to a 90-92 MPH cutter and an 82-84 MPH breaking ball.
Trivino’s command hasn’t always been consistent, but he improved in that area last season. He is a groundball pitcher who has allowed only 18 home runs in 418.1 career innings. Since becoming a reliever, Trivino has allowed only two home runs in 179.2 innings. In 2017, Trivino had a 55% groundball rate.
Trivino’s stock has risen considerably over the past 12 months. Last off-season, he was left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft and went unclaimed. This year, the A’s took no chances, adding him to the 40-man roster. He is a longshot to make the A’s bullpen out of spring training (unless the A’s trade one or two veteran relievers), but given the number of relievers the A’s used last season, there is a strong chance he will make his major league debut sometime in 2018.
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