Frank riding a wave of success to Lake County
Trevor Frank prefers to spend his free time surfing, but the waves of Lake Erie may not produce a swell large enough for shortboards. Frank doesn’t mind, however, because he’s spending his summer toeing the rubber rather than rails of a surfboard.
Frank, 22, is a California native who grew up in San Diego. The right-hander attended the University of California Riverside, where he majored in Media Culture Studies with a focus on film and visual arts.
In college, Frank recorded a 4.72 ERA, yielding 297 hits and a 170:60 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 257 innings of relief work. He spent his senior year as a closer, recording 10 saves and a 2.45 ERA, according to the UC Riverside Highlanders website.
Frank had one week of school remaining when he learned he’d been drafted by the Cleveland Indians. He said he’d talked with several teams, but couldn’t predict which club would be selecting his name. In the company of his family, Frank received a call from his Indians scout, Ryan Thompson, who said he’d be taking Frank in the 8th round of the 2013 draft.
Just as his college career came to close, Frank’s professional pursuit began. He was assigned to the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers last year, where he sealed a 2.83 ERA, surrendering 31 hits and just two walks as he struck out 39 through 20 appearances.
Fresh out of college, Frank said the short-season lived up to its name as it went by fast. He said he enjoyed his time in the New York-Penn League, as he had the opportunity to face some familiar names.
“I got to play against a bunch of guys that got drafted the same year, a lot of guys that I played with in the same conference as well,” he said. “It was pretty cool to play against them in a pro atmosphere.”
The professional setting served as a prime platform for Frank to focus on his slider, a pitch he said was inconsistent. He worked on his slider through spring training and now considers it his out pitch.
“I would kind of back off on it,” he explained. “Now, I’m just going at it just like all my other pitches -- just hard, throwing everything with the same arm speed.”
With a consistent slider and arm speed, Frank’s current focus is winning. Notching marks in the Captains’ win column is his biggest goal for the season. So far, his season has seen a successful start as he’s tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief and recorded one save.
His approach is relatively straightforward and his aim is simply to throw strikes, something Captains’ pitching coach Rigo Beltran admires.
“He’s going to attack the hitters,” Beltran said. “It’s the kind of mentality you love to see from a hitter. He’s going to come in and throw strikes, he’s going to compete at 100 percent and if he’s going to get beat, he’s going to get beat by his best stuff.”
Frank also knows he’s got the tools and talent to hang tough.
“I know that I can throw the ball well, I know I have that in me,” he explained. “It’s just being consistent with it, but I feel like I’ve figured it out. I can throw all my pitches for strikes and that’s been probably the biggest thing that’s changed.”
The scenery has also changed for Frank. He said he hasn’t had much free time to explore the Eastlake area yet, but with six roommates, he’s always in good company. Frank spends his spare time watching Netflix and relaxing with teammates, since Lake Erie’s waves aren’t sizable compared to California’s crests.
“I grew up surfing,” he said. “That’s been a big thing for me. It keeps you in shape as well.”
Frank’s father taught him to surf at a young age and growing up in San Diego facilitated his days among the waves. He may have to spend another summer away from the breakers, but now he’ll test the tides of low-A ball with the Lake County Captains.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.