Prospect Hunting: Trevor Bauer

Do not trust your memory; it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.

In need of K's? Speculate on Bauer sooner rather than later

In need of K’s? Speculate on Bauer sooner rather than later

Georges Duhamel

After Carlos Carrasco has seemingly failed in another audition to be a starter for the Indians they will call up either Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer to start their game on May 6th according to reports by Paul Hoynes who covers Cleveland. Seeing how players are overvalued as time approaches their promotion now is the time to speculate on Bauer. If your fantasy team has a need for more strikeouts, a stash of Bauer today could be fruitful as May draws closer. I understand your skepticism, but taking a look at Bauer, he may actually be ready this time. First here are his present stats:

  • Trevor Bauer AAA Stats – 25.2 IP, 3 W, 28 K, 7 BB, 1.50 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
  • Trevor Bauer vs. SD 2014 – 6 IP, 1 L, 8 K, 2 BB, 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

I will take Bauer’s only start this year with a grain of salt since it was against the Padres in the second game of a doubleheader, but what stands out is the K/BB ratio. Since returning to his old windup this past off-season, Bauer has not only improved his control but seen a velocity gain. Note the following chart with statistics courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net showing not only his mph but his usage of his pitches:

Pitch Type Career MPH    % Thrown 2014 MPH    % Thrown
Fourseam

93.8

50%

95.55

63%

Change

83.24

9%

87.24

9%

Slider

82.39

13%

85.26

11%

Curve

77.83

12%

78.76

14%

Split

87.96

1%

87.96

2%

While the numbers are not staggering, the over mile per hour gain on his fastball has to have a positive effect on his repertoire. Locating the fastball will be the key to him taking the next step forward and becoming a viable mixed league pitcher. Not only that, Bauer has an uptick in velocity with his Change and Slider. There seems to be many similarities between Bauer and Tyler Skaggs of the Angels. Upon returning to the Angels, Skaggs went back to his original windup and won a spot in their rotation. It remains to be seen if the fastball velocity gain is a result of the trust in his windup or other factors. But at a time when fantasy owners are looking for a spark in a category, Bauer may provide that. In his start against the Padres, his slider had a 75% whiff/swing rate according to BrooksBaseball.net. His pattern of usage is reflected in the 2014 portion in the chart above and could be a blueprint going forward if he trusts his fastball.

It does come with a measure of risk. Bauer has been a WHIP killer with his propensity to walk batters at the major league level. While his numbers provide a positive outlook, there is a chance he could be a liability to fantasy team ratios. If in fact Bauer is promoted to start on the sixth it will be against the Twins. I would be comfortable pitching him in 12 team or deeper leagues on the sixth to see what he can do. In shallower formats, Bauer would be more a spot starter or stream play to start out. In AL only or 15 team leagues I think he is a must add. Fortunately I have him in my home 12 team AL only league and I will be putting him in to pitch if he is promoted.

Taking chances early on can pay huge dividends, so if you are able to overcome the memories of Bauer’s past, his future may finally help owners that take the chance profit.  A leap of faith is sometimes difficult but I look forward to seeing what @baueroutage can do with Cleveland this year.

Greg Jewett is a staff writer for Roto Analysis and you can follow us on Twitter @RotoAnalysis and @gjewett9

Trevor Bauer picture credit: http://image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com/pics33/800/VY/VYCQJMBCACXXTDN.20140108204058.jpg

Statistical Credit:

Fangraphs.com

BrooksBaseball.net

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