Several years ago, Jose Trevino received sage advice from someone universally regarded as one of the best catchers ever – Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, a former Texas Ranger fan favorite who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer and who then had his iconic No. 7 retired at Globe Life Park a few weeks later.
Pudge actually taught me how to block a ball. He said ‘this is your footwork, I recognize your footwork and you need to have this footwork for you to be successful in blocking this ball.’ “That off-season (in 2014), that’s when I finally took it accountable on myself and if this guy’s telling me this, a potential Hall of Famer and he’s teaching me how to block a baseball, maybe I should listen to this guy,” Trevino said.
Trevino, 24, is in his first season with Frisco. Originally a sixth-round pick in 2014 by the Rangers out of Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla., Trevino has only been a full-time catcher since 2015 after first moving behind the plate the year before, but the Corpus Christi native who played catcher, shortstop and third base in college and infield earlier in his pro career, has adjusted well to having such a great view of the entire diamond.
I’m just like that (as a catcher) I’m in every play. I can control the game. I can slow tempo down, I can pick tempo up,” Trevino said.
This spring, he was in big-league camp with the Rangers for the first time in Surprise, Arizona, an experience which allowed him to learn from entrenched big-league catchers like Robinson Chirinos and Jonathan Lucroy, who was traded to Colorado in July.
Big-league camp (with the Rangers during spring training in 2017) showed me that you can tell when the momentum’s swinging (during a game) and you can tell when you can stop it,” Trevino said. “It was fun, getting to ride on the plane with some of the guys, sitting next to some of the guys you look up to and some of the guys that you work with every day. I learned a ton from all those guys up there. It was good to have them around.”
Currently the Rangers’ No. 6 prospect according to mlb.com, thus far Trevino’s ascension up the ladder in the Texas organization has been quick. Last season, he was a key contributor for a High Desert team that won the 2016 California League title in the Mavericks’ final season as a Rangers affiliate.
Both High Desert and Bakersfield were contracted from the Cal League and now play in the Carolina League under new ownership and with new names.
In 2016, Trevino won a minor-league gold glove at catcher and finished the season with a well-deserved invite to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League.
And on the heels of a ’16 campaign where he accomplished so much and proved himself a rising star in the Texas organization, the prevailing thought was that Trevino would continue his upswing in 2017 with Frisco.
However, thanks to getting hit in the hand in April, he missed games early in the season, which slowed his momentum.
It was tough to miss games. I don’t like to miss games, I’d like to be out here every game if I could, but it is what it is. It pops up, it happens. You got to learn to deal with it and move on,“ Trevino said.
He has since returned to full health and in late June was part of the Frisco contingent playing in the 2017 Texas League All-Star Game, which the ‘Riders hosted at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Being an All-Star is nothing new for this talented backstop as this is his fourth consecutive season to play in his league’s midseason classic, but being an All-Star at his home ballpark was a new experience, one he won’t forget for some time.
It was awesome. They did a great job with this beautiful ballpark, beautiful city. It was good to see a packed house for me and all the other guys,” Trevino said. “Yeah (the ovation for the Frisco guys was) a little bit bigger. It was nice. You could tell the fans were rooting for you, so it was pretty cool.”
For Trevino, the reception he and his fellow Frisco All-Stars received from the home crowd at the all-Star Game reminded him of the cheers he receives when the ‘Riders play in his hometown against the Corpus Christi Hooks at Whataburger Field down in South Texas.
It’s fun, it’s cool—friends and family,” Trevino said. “You never know who’s going to be there in the stands, but it’s always good to be back home. It feels like home. I know the crowd is rooting for the Hooks, but you can tell when I come up to hit, I get a little louder ovation and people are rooting for me.”
Ask any member of the ‘Riders pitching staff, manager Joe Mikulik or pitching coach Bryan Shouse and they’ll all tell you the same thing-Trevino is nothing short of a steadying influence behind the plate.
Yeah, he’s been solid all year. He’s a leader back there. It’s nice having someone back there that you can trust when they put down a sign,” Frisco pitcher Connor Sadzeck, who switched from starting to relieving earlier this summer, said of Trevino.
Having a guy back there who is confident in what you’re throwing, it really helps as a pitcher to have that back there. Obviously, he can throw guys out too, so that helps, not having to worry about baserunners all the time.”
Trevino views himself as a constant work-in-progress, and like many prospects is always finding ways to improve every day.
And one way he accomplishes that goal is by working closely with Carlos Maldonado, a former big-league catcher who is a member of the RoughRiders’ coaching staff.
(We work on) everything. I’ll come in here and talk to him, and it’ll be (us working on) either blocking, throwing, receiving, pop flies, anything like that, maybe some mental blocking, it could be anything. It’s going good. Just trying to stick with the process and keep working. That’s all it is, just keep working and get better every day.”
That mentality of never letting complacency creep into his approach, whether it’s while working on his offense or defense, sums up exactly why Trevino has already experienced such considerable success while being relatively new to catching. It also explains why he will likely be a big-league backstop in the near future.
I don’t know how people see it, but you can always work and get better. There’s always things you can polish up and make better,” Trevino said. “You never want to settle, especially in the catching position because that’s when you get exposed. I feel like it’s good, but there are things that can be cleaned up.”
But it’s not like Trevino is all about defense, he has been pretty solid at the plate this season as well. As of August 16, he had appeared in 88 games for Frisco and was hitting .252 with 7 HR and 38 RBI, decent numbers for a position where offensive production is considered a nice bonus.