In 2007, Major League Baseball was introduced to “The Freak” in San Francisco. Tim Lincecum has rejuvenated the San Francisco Giants from the depths of Barry Bonds and his steroid-fueled, monster home runs. Lincecum brought his unorthodox delivery and youthful personality to a clubhouse that badly needed a facelift. The results are obvious as we witnessed the Giants winning the 2010 World Series with Lincecum being the face of the franchise.
In the 2011 MLB draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Trevor Bauer, a 20-year-old SP from UCLA, with the third overall pick. Bauer’s stats at UCLA speak for themselves. In his senior year, Bauer went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA while striking out 203 on his way to winning the Golden Spikes award.
More recently, Bauer has pitched four games for the Arizona Diamondbacks AA affiliate, the Mobile Baybears, and put up impressive numbers. In his first three starts, Bauer had a 23:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, one home run allowed and only four earned runs. In his final game, Bauer did give up 10 earned runs in only an inning-and-two-thirds. This is a small sample size, but seems to fit in with his impressive stats at UCLA. Also, Bauer should be able to handle the MLB workload as proof of his pitching 10 complete games in his final year of college ball. Bauer has the ability to be a true ace with a plus fastball reaching 97 MPH and a put-away curveball.
He should be in the majors soon and stay there for many years to come.
Bauer has an advantage over Lincecum in one aspect, he has an offense. With Justin Upton, Chris Young, Stephen Drew and the much anticipated debut of power-hitting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Bauer has a much better core to start with than a geriatric Barry Bonds, a finished Ryan Klesko and one of the top defensive shortstops in Omar Vizquel. Bauer will be part of a young wave of players in Arizona that should catapult them to the top of the National League West division in the next few years.
Joining Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson will already create a top three that will be tough to beat. Then add in names like Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker, Wade Miley, David Holmberg and Josh Colmenter and you could have a recipe for a rotation that in a few years could rival the Giants' starting five. Bauer will allow the Diamondbacks to have one of the best rotations in the league and a solid offense, which usually leads to a winning team.
This will be especially important in Arizona where they seem to be fair-weather fans still living in the days of Luis Gonzalez and the 2001 World Series championship team.
With Bauer’s odd delivery and freakish warmups, he will be noticed just like Lincecum, but it will be his individual and team performances that will keep everyone interested.
Best Outcome: Bauer gets to pitch a majority of 2012 with the Diamondbacks. His freakish abilities make his comparisons to Tim Lincecum a reality and he becomes one of the top starting pitchers in the division. Bauer makes multiple All-Star appearances over his career and helps the Diamondbacks become the team to beat in the West.
Worst Outcome: The huge workload and unorthodox delivery cause Bauer to be riddled by injuries and become unreliable. When he pitches, he still can shut down any team, but an injury risk hurts his ability to be a true ace.