Jose Trevino’s mostly good 2022 season was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises for the Yankees. He came in as a somewhat insignificant addition to the roster, but he made quite the impact regardless. Trevino had some big moments at the plate, and was outstanding on defense behind it. He even played well enough to earn his first All-Star nod and Gold Glove. In all, it was by far his most successful season, but it was really a tale of two halves on offense. His rough second half should likely serve as a reminder for what his 2023 might look like.
The now-30-year-old backstop had a slow start in ‘22, but really turned it on offensively in May and June. Trevino was hitting with uncharacteristic power, had much better discipline numbers, and turned in a respectable 103 wRC+ for the first half. As mentioned, combining this with his excellent defense even got him to his first All-Star Game.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, however, this offensive production couldn’t be maintained for the entire season, as his second half was an entirely different story.
As the season progressed into the second half, Trevino began striking out more, cut his walk rate by more than half, and stopped hitting for the power that he had been before. All in all, he turned in a much less inspiring 77 wRC+ in the latter half of the year, thanks in large part to a particularly abysmal September.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, this lesser performance is much closer to the numbers he had put up in his career prior to arriving in New York. As promising as that first half may have been, there’s a good chance that was the outlier.
Through 2021 with the Rangers, Trevino managed just a 65 wRC+ over a few seasons of part-time play (519 total plate appearances). He had never really maintained anything close to that first half performance before. All together in 2022, Trevino had a 91 wRC+, a career-best mark. This also came in a year where he saw his most consistent opportunity to play, so it’s certainly possible that he made some legitimate strides, but for now and until proven otherwise, I’d guess he’s something much closer to that second half player.
Of course, his value is not entirely reliant on this part of his game either. In just 115 games, Trevino was worth 3.7 fWAR, good enough to get him in the top 10 for catchers. All seven catchers ahead of him had a wRC+ of 120 or better, which helps display what helps set him apart: he is an elite defensive catcher. As helpful as that is, particularly at his position, any expectations for Trevino at the plate should be kept to a minimum.
For a team that’s putting a lot of weight on a few players ranging from unproven to maybe just plain ol’ bad, having another potential liability in the lineup at catcher only makes the ice thinner. And this is not a knock on Trevino — he has already shown himself to be a very valuable player behind the dish, but the production he’s likely to bring offensively is far from ideal for this lineup.
Even considering the impressive first half of 2022, it seems likely that Trevino (and the catcher position entirely) is the lowest point in this lineup. Not that this is uncommon for a team at the position, but as the Yankees hope for favorable outcomes with some question marks, the more realistic version of Trevino only adds to that stress.