Trevor Bauer is the Indians’ No. 2 Starter for the Playoffs… and That’s Okay

henrypalattella
Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) throws against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) throws against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

When Trevor Bauer takes the mound on Friday night, he’ll do so as the Tribe’s No. 2 starter. Here’s why the Indians can feel okay about that.

Injuries to the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation have thrust Trevor Bauer into the spotlight, and for good reason. Bauer is now the Indians number two starter for the rest of the season, and the playoffs, after injuries to Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, meaning that it’s time for him to show the club that he has what it takes to be a reliable big league arm.

Bauer’s MLB career has been anything but typical thus far.  His electric arm was evident in college, where he went 34-8 with a 2.36 ERA and 460 strikeouts in three years at UCLA, which led to him being drafted third overall by Arizona in 2011. Bauer dominated for the Diamondbacks minor league affiliates, racking up a14-4 record to go along with a 3.00 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 156 innings, but struggled to find consistency at the major league level.

More from Away Back Gone

He went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts with the Diamondbacks, and didn’t make many friends in the clubhouse, as Miguel Montero spoke out on his disdain for Bauer. This plus the inconsistency led to the Diamondbacks cutting their ties with Bauer when they dealt him to the Indians following the 2012 season.

Cleveland made an investment in Bauer when the acquired him, and that investment is finally starting to show dividends. While he struggled initially with the Indians, going 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in four starts in 2013, he earned a spot in the starting rotation in 2014 and impressed Tribe brass, going 5-8 with a 4.12 ERA.

Bauer seemed to take a small step back in 2015, going 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA, which led to some believing that the Indians would trade him in the offseason to make room in their crowded rotation.  Cleveland chose not to trade him (obviously), but instead had him start the year in the bullpen, which didn’t last long.

The Indians’ patience with Bauer has paid dividends this year. He has gone 11-8 with a 4.24 ERA this year, and has cut down on his walks. Bauer walked 79 batters in 176 innings in 2015, but thus far in 2016 has only issued 66 free passes through 176.1 innings,  a solid improvement.

Next: One Month Doesn't Define Josh Tomlin

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Bauer has solved his consistency issues – there are still some starts where Bauer struggles to find the strike zone – but his improvement and maturation this year have been apparent. Still just 25,  Bauer has an opportunity to use this season’s playoff run as a springboard into a successful 2017. And we wouldn’t bet against him.

facebooktwitterreddit