Our look at the Top 25 Cleveland Indians in 2016 continues with a look at the polarizing figure known as Trevor Bauer.
There are Cleveland Indians fans who love Trevor Bauer, and those who despise him. But if we forget about his bloody finger in the ALCS, a game the Indians won, there is no reason to direct any negative energy toward the young pitcher.
2016 was Bauer’s third year as a regular starter for the Indians, logging a career-high 190 innings and striking out 168 batters, which was good for second-best on the team behind Corey Kluber.
Unlike Kluber, Bauer is not a pitcher who fans expect to come in and dominate opponents, as he can be counted on to allow several runs in every appearance. The first inning was a particular problem for Bauer, but he always seemed to settle in after that.
Some want to point at his warmup routine as a reason for his early struggles, but he is also only 25 years old and still figuring out how to be an MLB pitcher.
Those who get frustrated with the routine may also get annoyed by his presence on social media, in which he takes on trolls and has fun with it. The “you should be focusing on pitching and not tweeting” takes seem to be constant, but Bauer does not let it affect him, and that is admirable.
A particularly intense focus was placed on Bauer in the playoffs after the infamous Dronegate incident, but it was an honest accident. The Indians won the game and the series anyway, so it was a curmudgeon’s argument at best.
Bauer ended up making two starts in the World Series, and although the Indians lost both games, he had solid outings in both games. The offense just never gave him any help.
In a season filled with injuries and uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation, Bauer remained a constant all season. He was able to remain healthy and be a reliable member of the staff, and even started the postseason opener against the Boston Red Sox.
Another year of experience, along with the postseason experience, should only help Bauer improve in 2017. He is still young, so there is no reason to believe he cannot get better.
Be sure to check out the site tomorrow to see who comes in at No. 14 on our list.