The Bellingham Bells have received a stellar season from their pitching staff, with Trevin Hope leading the charge.
The Bells are 6-1 when Hope is on the mound, with their lone loss coming from the Ridgefield Raptors, arguably the best hitting team in the WCL. Through July 25, Hope ranks second in the West Coast League in strikeouts (39), ERA (1.91) and innings pitched (42.1), and third in wins (4). Hope also ranks fifth in batting average against (.229).
A major component of Hope’s success is his pitch placement. He allows an absurd 1.1 walks per nine innings (league average is 4.7), with just five total walks given up thus far. Cody Anderson, an assistant pitching coach for the Bells, believes that Hope’s deceiving delivery of pitches is what keeps opposing batters guessing.
“He’s throwing 88-92 [mph] throughout the season, so it’s not like he’s got crazy, overwhelming stuff – like 95, 96 – everything is looking like the same pitch and it’s just dying off, which makes him really tough to hit,” Anderson noted. “All of his pitches are coming out of the same window and spinning differently, so it’s just really hard for the hitters to pick up.”
Hope came into the season with a few goals in mind, mainly to work on mechanics and develop his off-speed pitches.
“Coming into the summer I had ok off-speed, but nothing that would really excel me to the next level, so coming in here and working with Carlos and really figuring out a lot of that stuff has really been something that I’m extremely happy with,” Hope said.
Hope credits recent hire Carlos Arroyo with being a major part of his success this season. Arroyo’s past role with the Phillies was in pitcher development, working with younger players to sharpen their skills and get them to the major leagues, something that fits in well with his duties with Bells hurlers.
“Just having him be able to give pointers and just his trained eyes, he sees a lot more than what I can feel,” Hope said. “I think that’s a big reason why I’m having the success that I am this summer, just being able to make those quick adjustments and get after guys in a very timely manner.”
The line between experimenting and competing is tricky to maneuver in summer ball, but Hope is constantly working to perfect his craft in service of the Bells. Now, with his improved arsenal of pitches, Hope has a reliable formula to getting quick outs.
“I have tried out a few different grips and changeups, in my last outing I finally got that changeup working good,” Hope said. “But really just sticking to my strengths, getting ahead in counts with fastballs, and then coming in with well-placed offspeed.”
As a local player who pitched for Lynden High School through 2018, Hope has a robust fan base around the area.
“Baseball is baseball to me, and now matter where I’m at I’m always going to play the same … but on a different note, it’s definitely very, very cool to be able to have all my friends and family make the games, so in that sense there’s a lot of sentimental factors that come into play with the Bells,” Hope said. “I love playing here, I think we have the best fanbase in the entire West Coast League, and they always show it every single home game that we have.”
Danny Brown, a regular attendee at Joe Martin Field, is one of the many Hope fans in the crowd. Brown has been impressed with the turnout the Bells have gotten (they rank third in attendance in the WCL with an average of 1,846 people per game), and says the control that Hope shows when pitching in front of such a crowd has been notable.
“You really get a sense of pitchers that feel confident on the mound, especially with how many people are attending the games,” Brown said. “Trevin Hope has the command and the seriousness, and it’s really just exciting to watch.”
Hope is almost certainly in the running, if not the front-runner, for the WCL Pitcher of the Year, an award won last year by former Bells pitcher Eric Chavarria. Considering Hope is at the top of the league in nearly every relevant pitching statistic, he could clinch the honor with a strong finish to the season.
“If you’re looking at the whole season, it’s about consistency, and Trevin Hope is consistency, they’re one and the same,” Brown said.
Cody Anderson, who studies Hope’s performance more than almost anyone, leave Hope himself, summed up most fans’ thoughts on the Bells’ ace.
“It seems like he’s always got a smile on his face after his outings, cause it’s always a good day at the yard when Trevin’s pitching.”