Prospect of the Day: Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Less than three months after the 2011 draft, Diamondbacks prospect and former UCLA star Trevor Bauer is breezing through pro ball and is being mentioned as a potential callup for September.
Relatively unheralded, Bauer had an excellent sophomore season in 2010 for the UCLA Bruins, going 12-3, 3.02 with a 165/41 K/BB in 131 innings. His 2011 campaign was even better: 13-2, 1.25 ERA, 203/36 K/BB in 137 innings with just 73 hits allowed. Drafted third-overall this spring, the right-hander signed for a bonus of $3.4 million, and this already looks like money well-spent.
Bauer opened his pro career with Visalia in the California League last month, pitching just nine innings over three starts due to pitch counts. In those nine innings, he walked four, allowed seven hits and three runs, but fanned 17. Promoted to Double-A Mobile, he's made two starts for the BayBears with fine results, pitching five innings in each outing. He's given up eight hits and three runs, four walks, plus another 16 strikeouts. In his first 19 pro innings, Bauer has a 33/8 K/BB ratio.
If you follow college baseball at all, you should be familiar with him. Bauer isn't a big guy at 6-1, 175, but he's been incredibly durable. An advocate of long-toss training, Bauer is a big fan of San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum and uses similar mechanics. His fastball varies between 91 and 96 MPH, with movement. He mixes in an excellent curveball, strong changeup, and will add a slider and splitter, which are also solid offerings.
He experiments with different pitches, and attacks hitters without hesitation. He loves strikeouts, making him a fascist in Bull Durham terms ("strikeouts are boring, besides that, they're fascist"), but it works for him. So far Bauer has had few problems in pro baseball and is on the fast track. I disagree with Crash Davis on strikeouts. They are a terrific indicator of future success in a pitcher, and Bauer continues to whiff hitters in bunches.
Some teams were concerned pre-draft about Bauer's extreme college workload and unusual training regime, but he's stayed healthy and it is impossible to argue with the results. I'm a big fan of Bauer, rate him as a pure Grade A prospect, and expect him to become a number one or two starter at the major league level.