Trevor Bauer

From BR Bullpen

TrevorBauer2.jpg

Trevor Andrew Bauer

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

TrevorBauer.jpg

Trevor Bauer was a 2018 American League All-Star. He possesses a deep arsenal of pitches as well as a wide variety of controversial opinions. While he has enjoyed some terrific performances in the big leagues, many recognize Bauer more for some of his antics on and off the field.

High School[edit]

Bauer was 4-1 with a 2.07 ERA as a high school sophomore. In 2008, the junior improved to 12-0, 0.79 with 106 whiffs to 15 walks in 70 2/3 innings. He was All-State and invited to the US junior national team trials. He graduated early to start his college career in 2009.

UCLA[edit]

Bauer made a big splash as a freshman at UCLA, posting a 9-3, 2.99 record with two saves. He held opponents to a .225 average and recorded the most wins by a UCLA freshman since Pete Janicki in 1990. He tied for 4th in the Pac-10 Conference in wins, was 7th in ERA and 8th in strikeouts. He outshone Gerrit Cole, a more heralded UCLA signee and fellow freshman who had been the Yankees' #1 pick in 2008. He was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and All-Conference (joining Mike Leake, Drew Storen, Cole, Josh Spence and Brad Boxberger among others). He was named Freshman All-American by Baseball America alongside Sean Gilmartin, Taylor Jungmann and Noe Ramirez as starting pitchers (Danny Hultzen was picked in a utility role). Collegiate Baseball picked him the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year. He had a 1-1, 4.67 record that summer for Team USA's college edition, which did not play in a major tournament.

As a sophomore, Trevor led NCAA Division I with 165 strikeouts (in 131 1/3 innings), 10 ahead of runner-up Asher Wojciechowski and 12 more than teammate Cole. His record was 12-3, 3.02. He set a school record for strikeouts and led the Pac-10 in innings, tied Seth Blair for most wins (tied for 5th in all of Division I) and was 6th in ERA. In the 2010 College World Series, he fanned 24 in 15 innings, beating both TCU and Florida. He was the first UCLA hurler to win a College World Series game. UCLA finished second nationally and Bauer was named to the All-Tournament team; Matt Purke of TCU was the other pitcher chosen. He was All-Conference, though Blair was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year with a higher ERA and fewer strikeouts. Baseball America picked him second-team All-American, joining Hultzen, Jungmann and Purke as the starting pitchers.

After leading the country in strikeouts as a sophomore, what could Bauer do for an encore? Repeat the feat, but with more Ks. He struck out 203 batters in going 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA and completed his last 9 starts. He became the first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year from UCLA since Janicki in 1992. He was named Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, the first UCLA player ever to take that award. The right-hander was the third straight pitcher to claim that award, following Stephen Strasburg and Chris Sale. He broke Alex Sanchez's school record of 328 strikeouts, finishing with 460, and also set UCLA career records in wins (34) and innings (373 1/3) while breaking Mark Prior's 2001 record for most strikeouts by a Pac-10 pitcher in a season. Only Tim Lincecum's 491 outranked him for a career. He capped his collegiate career by being named recipient of the 2011 Golden Spikes Award as the best college ballplayer in the USA.

Draft[edit]

The Arizona Diamondbacks took Bauer with the third pick of the 2011 amateur draft, following UCLA teammate Cole and Hultzen (Bauer had much better statistics for both 2011 and his career than Cole, yet Cole went first due to a quicker fastball). It was the first time since 1978 that a college had two of the top three picks - Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks had been taken that year out of Arizona State University. Despite the draft success, UCLA did not make the super regionals, let alone the 2011 College World Series. It was not Bauer's fault, as he had been unbeaten in the postseason. He was the fourth UCLA Top 3 draft pick, following Tim Leary, Troy Glaus and Cole. Scouted by Hal Kurtzman, he signed a contract with the D-Backs on July 25, relatively early for such a high pick, for a signing bonus of $3.4 million.

Minors[edit]

Bauer was sent to the Class A Visalia Rawhide of the California League to begin his professional career. He debuted on July 30 with two shutout innings against the Stockton Ports, striking out three and allowing one hit. In his first 9 innings as a pro, he whiffed 17. After three games, he was promoted to the Double A Mobile Bay Bears and made 4 more starts before the end of the year. Overall, in 7 starts, he pitched 25 2/3 innings with a record of 1-2, 5.96, and 26 strikeouts against only 8 walks. He was invited to the Diamondbacks' major league camp in 2012. Even though he was optioned back to Mobile, he pitched quite well, with a 3.60 ERA in 4 games, confirming that he was still on a fast track to the major leagues. He went 7-1 in 8 starts for Mobile, with a 1.68 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings, allowing only 33 hits, to demonstrate beyond any doubt that he was too good for that level. On May 17, the Diamondbacks took note and promoted him to the Triple A Reno Aces. After only five weeks there, the D-Backs announced another promotion, this time to the big league club, where he was inserted as the team's starting pitcher on June 28. That made him the first player selected in the 2011 draft to play in The Show. He had gone 4-0, 2.82 in 8 starts for Reno, striking out 56 in 44 2/3 innings.

2012 in the Majors[edit]

In his major league debut, Bauer faced the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. He only pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, before being replaced by pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra in the top of the 5th. The Diamondbacks were trailing 2-0 when he left, but came back to win the game in the 9th inning, 3-2. He was bothered by a groin cramp starting in the 3rd inning and it affected his mechanics, prompting the decision to lift him from the game early. He was charged with the loss in his next start, on July 3 against the San Diego Padres, having given up 7 runs in 3 1/3 innings. He picked up his first big league victory on July 8, thanks to 6 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but had his third unsatisfactory outing in four starts the next time out, losing 4-0 to the Cincinnati Reds after lasting only three innings on July 17th. At that point, the Diamondbacks decided to send him back to Triple A, his record standing at 1-2, 6.06. He had struck out an excellent 17 batters in 16 1/3 innings, but also allowed 13 walks, putting him in constant trouble.

Back on the farm and a change of scenery[edit]

Demoted back to Reno, he was 1-1 the rest of the way to finish 5-1, 2.85 for them. On the year, he went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in the minors, fanning 157 and allowing only 107 hits in 130 1/3 innings, though he walked 61 and threw 20 wild pitches. He was dealt, with Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, to the Cleveland Indians on December 11; the Diamondbacks got another top prospect in shortstop Didi Gregorius, along with pitcher Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson. His trade came amidst rumors that the D-Backs were dissatisfied with some of Bauer's quirks, such as his very personal warmup routine, and his stubbornness that made it difficult to work with catcher Miguel Montero. After the trade, Montero told a local news site that Bauer "never wanted to listen", while Bauer, who dabbles in hip-hop on the side, issued a track entitled "You Don't Know Me", dissing his former catcher who "hides behind a mask".

He had his first extended stay in the majors in 2014 when he made 26 starts for the Indians, going 5-8, 4.18. He logged 153 innings, striking out 143, an excellent rate that promised some future success. In spring training 2015, he made headlines for giving up long hits. On March 10, the Chicago Cubs hit three consecutive homers against him in a Cactus League game, then, on March 20, he gave up four triples in an inning, an exceedingly rare occurrence, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Things went much better in his first start of the regular season, against the Houston Astros on April 9. He pitched 6 scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters; he allowed 6 walks, but not a single hit although he had to leave after throwing 111 pitches to get that far. The no-hitter was finally broken up in the 9th, but he got the W on the ledger in the Indians' 5-1 win. When he followed that with a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on April 15, it marked the first time he had won consecutive starts in the major leagues. He went 11-12, 4.55 in 31 games that season, 30 of them starts. He pitched his first career complete game and logged 176 innings. His 79 walks led the American League, but he also struck out 170 opponents.

In 2016, he improved to 12-8, 4.26 in 35 games, with 28 starts. He pitched 190 innings, lowered his walk total to 70 and struck out 168. Had all of the Indians' starters been healthy for the postseason, he likely would have been relegated to bullpen duty, but with injuries to Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who had both been more effective in the regular season, manager Terry Francona had no choice but to count on him. Trevor started Game 1 of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox at home on October 6 and gave up 3 runs in 4 2/3 innings, earning a no-decision in a game the Indians eventually won on their way to a three-game sweep. His next start was pushed back to Game 3 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays after he cut his finger while playing around with a drone. The wound had not had time to heal properly, however, and quickly re-opened in the 1st inning. He left the game with his hand a bloody mess after recording only two outs, putting his team in a difficult situation, but the bullpen held together for a 4-2 win. When his turn to pitch next came up in Game 5, Francona opted to use untested rookie Ryan Merritt in his place, a gamble that paid off. As a result, he was able to get more time to heal properly because the Indians ended the series in six games. He made his return in Game 2 of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs and was charged with a loss, as he was again in his start in Game 5. He pitched a total of 7 2/3 innings between the two starts, giving up 5 runs. He was used one final time in the 10th inning of Game 7, after Bryan Shaw had given up two runs; he retired the final two batters of the inning, and though Cleveland came back to score once in the bottom of the 10th, it was not enough as they ended up on the short end of a heartbreaking World Series.

Trevor was back in the starting rotation at the beginning of 2017. On May 30, he had a great start against the Oakland Athletics as he struck out 14 batters in 7 innings, including striking out the side in the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th. It was his highest career total, and the most by any American League pitcher up to that point of the season. Three relievers then added five more Ks, tying the team's nine-inning record of 19, and Bauer was credited with a 9-4 win that day. When he defeated the New York Yankees, 2-1, in the first game of a doubleheader on August 30, it was his seventh straight win, giving him 14 wins on the season with a month left to play. He reached 15 wins for the first time on September 4 when he defeated the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, for Cleveland's 12 straight win. He finished the year at 17-9, 4.19, with 196 strikeouts in 176 1/3 innings. Manager Francona caused a surprise by designating him to start Game 1 of the Division Series against the New York Yankees in a move designed to allow ace Corey Kluber to start both Games 2 and 5 - if needed -on regular rest. In any case, Bauer pitched like a true ace, allowing just 2 hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings to receive credit for Cleveland's 4-0 win. His curveball was particularly devastating, leading to 8 strikeouts. His next start in Game 4 on October 9 did not go as well, as he gave up four runs - none of them earned - in 1 2/3 innings and was charged with a 7-3 loss as the Indians were eliminated in five.

In 2018, he had a great first half, going 8-6, 2.24 as the Indians ran away with the AL Central title. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time that season. He then won his first four decisions in the second half, managing to lower his ERA to 2.22 when he was hit in the leg by a comebacker off the bat of Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox on August 11. He left the game immediately and, at first, it looked just like a bad bruise, but the injury was later determined to be a stress fracture in his right fibula, putting him out of action until [September 21]]. He made three appearances after his return, finishing the year at 12-6, 2.21 with 221 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings. In the Division Series against the Houston Astros, he was used exclusively as a reliever, but things did not go too well as in 4 innings, he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits and was charged with the loss in Game 3, a loss which eliminated the Indians from the postseason.

In his second start of the 2019 season, on April 4, he made a bid to pitch the first no-hitter by an Indians pitcher in 35 years, dating back to Len Barker's perfect game in 1981. Bauer tossed 7 hitless innings, but had run his pitch count to 117, in part due to issuing 6 walks, and manager Terry Francona took him out. Jon Edwards and Brad Hand kept the bid going through the 8th, but Freddy Galvis led off the 9th with a single for the Blue Jays, who, ironically, had been Barker's victims way back when. Bauer ended up a 4-1 winner, his first win of the year, although his first start had also been a good one as he had allowed just one hit in 7 innings. He was the first pitcher in major league history to start a season with two starts of at least five innings and just one hit allowed. On July 28, he made the news for his reaction to being taken out of a game by manager Francona, as he tossed the game ball over the center field wall in frustration. He apologized after the game, saying his conduct had been "unbecoming, childish and unprofessional". That said, the incident, which also landed him a fine from MLB, proved to be the last straw with the Indians. On July 30, he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds in a major trade also involving the San Diego Padres that netted Cleveland five players, including outfielders Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes.

Back in the National League[edit]

With Cincinnati, Bauer was joining a team that was not looking to contend in 2019, but had its eye on the following season, having assembled a very strong top three starters with Bauer joining All-Stars Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, to go along with a strong batting order. He was the second top starter ending up on a non-contender in the space of three days, following in the footsteps of Marcus Stroman, acquired by the New York Mets two days earlier. In another bizarre twist, instead of heading straight to Cincinnati, he remained in Cleveland for another day and attended his former team's game against the Houston Astros on July 31st. He avoided incident with the Reds, finishing the season leading the big leagues in hit batsmen (19) while finishing 4th in the majors in walks (82). He was 2-5, 6.39 in 10 starts for the Reds. That resulted in an overall record of 11-13, 4.48 in 34 starts, tied for most in the majors, and his 213 innings were third most in the majors.

On August 2, 2020, he became the first pitcher to take advantage of the new rule calling for doubleheaders to consist of two seven-inning games, by throwing a complete game shutout in defeating the Detroit Tigers, 4-0. He gave up just 2 walks and 2 hits while striking out 7 in recording his first win of the year. Wins may have been hard to come by for him, as they were for most other starting pitchers in that unusual season, but there was no doubting he was one of the top pitchers in the National League. On September 23rd, he limited the Milwaukee Brewers to 1 run in 8 innings while striking out 12, lowering his league-leading ERA to 1.73 and becoming the first pitcher in the circuit to reach 100 strikeouts (his former teammate with the Indians, Shane Bieber, had already done so in the AL). He was also the only pitcher in the majors with 2 shutouts, and one of just four with 2 complete games. When asked after the game if his latest performance had cemented his claim on the Cy Young Award, he responded in his typical straightforward way: "I don’t see how you can see it any other way." With four days left in the season and the Reds in the middle of a very tight race with six teams competing for four playoff slots, it was possible that he would get to make a final appearance - either as a starter or a reliever - in the finale with the season on the line. That wasn't needed, as the Reds secured their spot on the season's penultimate day, but he was named the NL Pitcher of the Month for September and finished with the best ERA in the league at 1.73. He then started Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Atlanta Braves on September 30th and was brilliant, allowing no runs on 2 hits in 7 2/3 innings while striking out 12, but his teammates failed to support him with any runs - in fact, the Reds would go the entire two-game series without scoring even once. So the game was still scoreless when he left, and the Braves eventually scored in the 13th inning to eke out a 1-0 win. Following the season, he was voted the winner of the 2020 National League Cy Young Award.

The Big Payday[edit]

Following the 2020 season, Bauer became a free agent, and given the outstanding season he had just completed as well as his relatively young age - he was heading into his age 30 season - he was the most wanted property on the market that off-season. A number of teams were interested in his services, but it came down to two: the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. He chose the defending World Series champs over the kings of soap opera, putting his name on February 5, 2021 on a three-year deal worth $102 million, with an opt-out after each of his first two seasons, consistent with Bauer's wish not to sign a long-term deal. The first two seasons, valued at $40 million and $45 million make him the highest paid player in the majors if he does not opt out of the second year, while the third was mainly an insurance policy. Meanwhile, the contract put the Dodgers in a place to take a huge hit in terms of luxury tax.

Personal Life[edit]

Bauer is known to be a bit of a geek and cultivates his public image in that vein, the drone incident during the 2016 postseason being typical of this. He is very active on social media and has a large number of followers. This came back to bite him after the 2018 season, however, as he got into a dispute with a fan of Alex Bregman on Twitter. The young woman, a college student from Texas, said she was unwittingly dragged into the public spat and felt harassed both by the pitcher's repeated messages addressed to her, and those of his very numerous fans, as he did nothing to calm them down. Following the incident, which received a lot of publicity in January 2019, while not directly apologizing, Bauer said he vowed to use the network more responsibly in the future. That was one of a number of incidents that led to his being qualified by some as "baseball's biggest jerk".

He has also made suggestions about how to improve the economics of baseball, after going through an unpleasant arbitration process with the Indians before the 2019 season. He said from that point on, he would only sign one-year contracts. As he explained, this would have the advantage of making him affordable to any team serious about competing, and also of not locking him in long-term into a situation he may not be comfortable with. He added that if the practice was more widespread, it would address many of the woes currently afflicting baseball, in particular teams' unwillingness to bid for top-notch free agents, and the practice of a large portion of teams "tanking" a season before it starts in order to gain a potential competitive advantage a number of years down the road, with no regard for their fans. He made more remarks on the economics of baseball after the 2019 season, decrying the Commissioner's plans to eliminate some 41 minor league teams. (Rob Manfred) "is trying to ruin baseball at all levels," was his comment. He also was very critical of the plan floated to reform the postseason by creating a wild card round and a bye for the team with the best record in each league, saying that Manfred clearly did not understand baseball if he was behind this plan. He also criticized MLB's social media policy, especially on how highlight plays are shared, saying that it was alienating a whole generation of fans, as well as its inability to market its top players. MLB may not have acknowledged that he was behind the changes, but, at a time when reaching out to physically distant fans was an issue on everyone's minds during the 2020 season, it did make significant adjustments to its policy on social media usage and availability of highlights that went very much in the direction he had suggested.

Repertoire[edit]

Bauer has been clocked in the mid-90s on his fastball and throws a four-seam fastball, two different change-ups, two curveballs, a dot slider, a circle slider, a reverse slider, and a split-fingered fastball. He is known for an unusual warm-up routine on days when he starts, beginning with an extensive session of long tosses before beginning to throw from a practice mound.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (2018)
  • NL Cy Young Award Winner (2020)
  • NL ERA Leader (2020)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (2020)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (2020)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2017)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2019)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2019)


NL Cy Young Award
2018 2019 2020
Jacob deGrom Trevor Bauer tbd

Sources[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jordan Bastian: "Bauer on: Righty opens ALDS with no-hit stuff: Indians' Game 1 starter fans eight over 6 2/3 frames in splendid outing", mlb.com, October 6, 2017. [1]
  • Jordan Bastian: "Bauer continually pushing for improvement: Right-hander worked on retooling slider over offseason", mlb.com, March 6, 2018. [2]
  • Steve Gardner: "Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is the anti-hero baseball needs", USA Today Sports, July 16, 2018. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Trevor Bauer's radical idea on MLB contracts could benefit everyone", USA Today, February 14, 2019. [4]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Trevor Bauer says he suffered 'character assassination' but insists there's no ill will with Indians", USA Today, February 14, 2019. [5]
  • Bobby Nightengale: "Reds' Trevor Bauer discusses free agency, desire to pitch every fourth day", Cincinnati Enquirer, February 28, 2020. [6]
  • Bobby Nightengale: "Trevor Bauer becomes first pitcher in Reds' history to win NL Cy Young Award", USA Today, November 11, 2020. [7]
  • Mark Sheldon: "Bauer on chasing Cy: 'I'm a top-tier pitcher'", mlb.com, September 13, 2020. [8]
  • Mark Sheldon: "Bauer wins Reds' first Cy Young Award: Right-hander posted a 1.73 ERA to earn honor for first time in career", mlb.com, November 11, 2020. [9]
  • Juan Toribio: "Trevor Bauer joins Dodgers on record deal", mlb.com, February 5, 2021. [10]
  • Juan Toribio: "'A surreal moment': Bauer feels at home in LA: Dodgers 'organizational structure' top factor in reigning NL Cy Young winner's decision", mlb.com, February 11, 2021. [11]

Related Sites[edit]