Bauer still strives for consistency
It seems that Trevor Bauer has found a fit with the Cleveland Indians organization.
Bauer has things he is working on before he can make the major leagues his permanent home, but between his intelligence and passion for the game there’s no doubt that is where he belongs.
The 22-year-old pitcher was obtained by the Indians in a mega-trade between the Diamondbacks, Indians, and Reds in December 2012. The trade put a spotlight on the young pitcher the Indians hope will one day lead their rotation. Bauer started off the season in AAA Columbus, but has since bounced back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus.
“It was a celebration when we got him, knowing what kind of pitcher he’s capable of becoming in the big leagues,” Cleveland’s minor league pitching coordinator Ruben Niebla said about the new comer.
“You never know where you’re going to get traded to and what it’s going to be like, but I was very happy when I heard it was the Indians," Bauer said. I was like 'okay, I know I can get along over there, I’ll be okay.' It’s really nice being in a place where you feel wanted and communication goes both ways. I think that’s something the Indians do a really good job of.”
Cleveland was not only aware of Bauer’s raw talent when they brought him in, but also of his eccentric warm-up routine that includes throwing a long toss before every one of his starts.
“I’ve thrown it an excess of 400 feet, out close to 420, which here would be foul pole to foul pole from standing on the warning track and throwing it and hitting the other foul pole," Bauer responded when asked about it. "On fields that are 330 feet down each line it’s 470 feet across from foul pole to foul pole, so by the time you take into account 15 feet for each warning track and stuff like that I can get it across most fields standing on the grass, but before a game I generally don’t go that far a lot of it is in the offseason when I’m trying to build arm strength. So pregame I usually throw around 350 feet.”
The former UCLA mechanical engineering student knows what he is talking about and works to use his education and intelligence on the field.
“I loved physics in high school; that’s why I went into mechanical engineering and I think my love of the sciences and engineering principles and stuff like that definitely affects what I do on the field,” Bauer said.
Many question Bauer’s unconventional warm-up, but the Indians do not.
“I just think that he is Trevor Bauer; he’s his own person, he has his own way of doing things, and you know, we appreciate that," Niebla said. "He takes the time to know himself, he’s taken the time to learn about biomechanics, and we welcome that.”
Throughout his first season with the Indians Bauer has had his fair share of growing pains; however, more recently it seems the hard throwing right-hander may have started ironing out a few kinks. In Bauer’s last trip to Cleveland in May he threw his longest major league outing against the New York Yankees pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing only six hits, and two earned runs. Bauer was still saddled with the loss, but showed he was making strides.
Bauer has since returned to Triple-A to continue his development and work to improve his fastball command. His last start against the Indianapolis Indians on June 3rd he went 5.2 innings, giving up nine hits and an earned run. Then on Saturday he went 7.0 shutout innings allowing five hits, one walks and had six strikeouts.
The only complaint is that his pitch count continues to be high, but that is something Bauer has been working on.
“The problem right now is I’m just inconsistent; I don’t throw strikes nearly enough," Bauer said. "I’m throwing strikes this year at 57 or 58 percent, so as I get more consistent mechanically - I’m changing my delivery around a little bit - and get more comfortable with that, I’ll get more consistent and throw more strikes.”
In Columbus Bauer is now 2-2 with a 4.02 ERA, but the progress is there. If he can fine tune his delivery, control, and consistency, then Bauer has a good chance of becoming the pitcher he was always projected to be.
Niebla’s final thoughts about Bauer perfectly summarize what every Cleveland Indians fan should know about their number one pitching prospect.
“First and foremost, I think he’s a great guy," Niebla said. "I think that he’s a person that really cares about his development, he really cares about his career. He wants to be great and those are words that he uses and I think that anyone who has that kind of motivation is going to figure out a way to get better. That’s exactly what he’s doing, he’s continuing to get better every day and we really appreciate him working with us and really look forward to him pitching in the big leagues for us for a long time.”