Cleveland Indians: How Trevor Bauer can continue to dominate

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 05: Trevor Bauer
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 05: Trevor Bauer /

As we look ahead to 2019, it’s becoming more apparent that Trevor Bauer will stay with the Cleveland Indians. Here’s a glimpse of how his 2019 could be.

I was as elated as anyone when I heard it wasn’t likely for the Cleveland Indians to trade Trevor Bauer. (At least this season, anyway.) Bauer, himself has admitted that if the Indians were to trade him, they should wait until next offseason. But that means we’re likely to see one more year of Trevor Bauer dominance in a Tribe uniform.

Bauer’s time in Cleveland has been a bit of a roller coaster. But if we’re putting it that way, last season was the peak of the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. It was by far the best year of his career. Bauer’s xFIP from the 2017 season showed that he had made progress and could continue on that track. But I don’t know if anyone expected his 2.21 ERA or 221 strikeouts.

Bauer managed to elevate himself to the Indians number two spot in the Indians rotation as he pitched much better than Carlos Carrasco who had held the spot before him. Not to say Carrasco was bad, but it just goes to show how great Trevor Bauer was.

He didn’t finish in the top 3 of the Cy Young voting and that will put a huge chip on Bauer’s shoulder. He’s always very vocal about his own numbers, and I kind of admire him for that. Part of what made Bauer so effective was how he altered his arsenal of pitches. He spends so much time in the offseason working on adjusting his throwing motion, hand placement, and ball movement. He did so by trying to mimic the motion of fellow star pitcher, Corey Kluber.

So in 2019 what can we expect from Bauer? More of the same, we hope. But it never seems that simple with him. You can bet his still working this perfectionist is working on altering his pitches even more right now. It’s a chess match that Bauer wants to stay on top of when he’s not playing with drones.

Part of what makes him so fun to watch on the mound or at an interview is that he has a respect for the advanced analytics of today’s baseball. Like a young Brian Kenny, Bauer keeps an eye on those Fangraphs numbers. That includes his 6.1 WAR, which he was well aware of.

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It will be interesting to see how Bauer starts the 2019 season. He didn’t look too great in the postseason and that was really the most action he saw after returning from injury. But now that he’s had a full offseason to work, I expect Bauer to return to form.