Feeling a Draft – Part IV


Yesterday, Jeff Herr took a look at UCLA starting pitcher and potential Royals Draft Pick Gerrit Cole.

I’m going to one-up him.

Cole’s partner in crime for UCLA is a hard-throwing strikeout ace named Trevor Bauer. Bauer starred for the Bruins as a Freshman in 2009, and pitched in the College World Series last year. Now, as a Junior, he has been paired with Gerrit Cole in any conversation about not only who the best pitcher in College Baseball, but who is the top pitcher in this year’s draft.

Trevor Bauer – RHP – Valencia, CA – UCLA – 6’2″ 185 lbs
You Tube Highlights

While Cole may have better Major League talent – big frame, 100 mph fastball, great breaking stuff – his stats at UCLA are not that of what Trevor Bauer has been able to achieve.

In his first two years at UCLA, Bauer posted a 21-6 record and a 3.00 ERA. Opponents hit just .236 off of him. He threw five complete games (four as a freshman). He was a 2nd Team All-American by Baseball America both years. He set a school record and led the nation with 165 strikeouts (in 131 1/3 innings). He won both games he pitched in Omaha as the Bruins contended for the National Championship.

This year – has has been better.

Going into today, Bauer is 10-2 with a 1.40 ERA in 13 starts. Batters are hitting a frigid .150 against him. He’s thrown seven complete games. And his strikeout record? – it’s been broken. With 167 Strikeouts (in 109 2/3 innings) versus jut 32 walks, Trevor Bauer has officially become the Ace of the Bruins staff.

In his last outing against Cal-State Bakersfield, the threw a complete game, allowed just eight hits, gave up one run, and struck out 13 Roadrunners. UCLA won the game 10-1.

Truly, UCLA has been blessed with having two pitchers of this caliber on the same staff. While Cole’s numbers are down this year (5-7, 3.27), he is still considered a top prospect. So, if you’re keeping score at home, that’s two top 10 prospects in their starting rotation. Pair them with Adam Plutko’s 1.65 ERA & you’ve got a pretty good top three starters. It’s no wonder the Bruins are a favorite to get back to Omaha.

As far as Trevor Bauer the person – he does not like to be lumped in with anybody – he is his own man. A man with interesting style, mechanics, and approach.

The dirty, faded blue hat that Trevor wears is the same one that he was given to him when he first stepped on campus.

“I don’t like caps that stick up at the corners,” Bauer says. “They make you look like a conductor.” He found one that worked and has stuck with it. We’ve all got a favorite faded hat that should have been thrown out a long time ago, don’t we?

His size has drawn comparison to smaller power pitchers such as Tim Lincecum, Roy Oswalt, and Tim Hudson – all of whom he views as role models. Especially Lincecum, who Bauer borrows his high, long stride towards home plate.

Beyond that though, the technique is uniquely his. He juggles, plays hackey sack, and throws water-soaked baseballs. He begins his warm up each inning with a crow-hop and unleashes a pitch at maximum effort towards home plate. He graduated High School a year early because he was bored with it. (He had a 12-0 record and a 0.79 ERA) He has been described as “a freak” and has an “innate feeling for handling the ball – like Pete Maravich” by his UCLA coaches.

His distinctive training regiment is one that could turn-off potential selectors in the upcoming draft. He prefers his own four day workout and routinely plays long toss from foul pole to foul pole. The arc on those throws can reach 300 feet and many MLB teams limit their long toss distance to 120 feet. The Royals are one of the teams that have been warned away from drafting Bauer – by Bauer himself. He likes his routine and feels like it has contributed to his success and arm strength. He wouldn’t want a team to come along and take that away from him. He would be more comfortable in a system that would let him do his own thing and I’m not sure if the Royals would be willing to do that.

For a pitcher of his talent though, it should be considered. Bauer would be sure to become a fan favorite. He’s not cut from the same boring cloth as almost all Major League players these days. Think about colorful guys like Brian Wilson of the Giants or Pedro Martinez. With all of the sugar in this team’s future, it could use a little spice.

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