After putting together impressive numbers in the minor leagues, Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, made his major league debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was decent in his first start as he went four innings, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out three.
One of the reasons that Bauer was able to reach the big leagues so quickly was because of the fact that he was fairly polished. In fact, Bauer may have better stuff than a number of MLB aces.
Bauer throws a number of different pitches which allows him to keep hitters off-balance throughout the game (h/t Andrew Pentis, milb.com). Some pitches have been developed much more than others, but there is no denying that Bauer has outstanding stuff.
For the sake of this article, an ace will be defined as a team's No. 1 starter or a pitcher that is capable of being a No. 1 starter on most teams in the majors.
Scott Diamond has been the best pitcher for the Minnesota Twins this season, but he is far from being a true ace. However, he is the ace of the Twins staff.
Trevor Bauer's pitches certainly grade higher than Diamond's stuff. Bauer throws as many as nine pitches and he has pretty good control of all of them (h/t Andrew Pentis, milb.com).
According to Brooks Baseball, Diamond’s fastball averages 89.91 mph and has a horizontal movement of 1.26 inches. Compare that to 95,18 mph and 6.16 inches of horizontal movement for Bauer. Additionally, Bauer has more movement on his slider as well as a bigger speed differential.
The ace of the Houston Astros pitching staff is Wandy Rodriguez. He is certainly the best starter that they have in the big leagues.
However, Rodriguez does not have outstanding stuff. Arizona Diamondbacks starter Trevor Bauer already has better stuff than Rodriguez, and he should continue to improve.
Chris Sale has been absolutely outstanding since he transitioned from the Chicago White Sox bullpen to their starting rotation. He has been a big reason why the White Sox are in first place in the American League Central.
Sale relies on three pitches, but he is very good with them. However, Trevor Bauer does have better stuff than Sale.
Given how poorly the starting pitchers on the Colorado Rockies pitching staff have performed this year, it is hard to identify an ace on their staff. Their best pitcher is likely Christian Friedrich at this point.
He has a lot of talent, but Friedrich has not really been able to put things together. While Friedrich has good stuff, he certainly is not on the level of Trevor Bauer.
Jason Hammel is currently the ace of the Baltimore Orioles staff. He has pitched very well this season, and he is one of the reasons why the Orioles have surprised so many people this year.
Trevor Bauer's stuff is much better than Hammel's stuff, but he might not have a better repertoire of pitches than the Orioles' future ace, Dylan Bundy.