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Trevor Richards Plays All The Angles

Righthander Trevor Richards was at his offseason job—as a teacher’s aide at Aviston (Ill.) Elementary—when he had a surreal moment.

During morning announcements, the school broadcasted the news that the 24-year-old Richards had been named Marlins minor league pitcher of the year.

"The kids started clapping,” Richards said, "and everyone was giving me high-fives.”

The attention was long overdue for Richards, who had no Division I scholarship offers out of Mater Dei High in Breese, Ill., and went undrafted after four years at Drury, a Division II university in Springfield, Mo.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology, Richards signed to play with Gateway of the independent Frontier League. He was there 13 months before the Marlins signed him on July 2, 2016.

Before the Marlins came along, Richards had a job offer to work for U.S. Border Patrol and had started the lengthy application process.

Fortunately for the Marlins, they got to Richards first—but his was no overnight success. Richards didn't even rank among the system's Top 30 Prospects heading into 2017.

But that was no problem for Richards, who is used to being overlooked. He went 12-11, 2.53 this year, making 27 appearances, including 25 starts, while splitting time between high Class A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.

Richards struck out 158 batters in 146 innings. He led Miami minor leaguers in ERA and strikeouts and finished second in wins.

He had an 11-strikeout game for Jupiter and made the Florida State League all-star team. He also went 4-0, 1.65 in June to earn the system's pitcher of the month honors.

Richards doesn’t have overpowering stuff. His fastball ranges between 90-92 mph. He throws a changeup, and he’s just now working on a curveball. But he makes it work.

"I don’t throw 98 (mph), so there’s no point thinking about velo,” Richards said. "I focus on location and angles.

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"The season I had has sunk in, but I just want to build on that and keep it going.”

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