Don't judge Trevor Bauer on his first start
Truthfully, I don't know what to expect of him in his first start. I don't know what to expect of him, period, because I've never seen him pitch. I've seen highlights and I've seen his numbers, therefore, I'm optimistic he won't disappoint…over the long haul.
The Braves may have some success against Bauer Thursday, and in my opinion there's a better chance of that happening than him opening up a can of Stephen Strasburg and striking out 14 in his coming out party. I've been watching baseball for 25 years and generally trust a lineup of proven hitters over a wide-eyed rookie trying to live up to expectations. Then again, I don't know Bauer.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers does know him told Doug and Wolf this week that Bauer has "tunnel-vision."
I hear Bauer still needs to work on how to manage a game. He needs to be more efficient with his pitches and cut down on his walks (46 BBs in 93 minor league innings this season). The Braves have the fourth-best offense in the National League and are relatively patient at the dish. That being said, I also know Bauer has an arsenal of filthy pitches, and 116 strikeouts in those 93 frames would suggest as much. Towers says Bauer has "six and seven pitch mixes" compared to "two and three" for most guys. That's going to be tough on any hitter, regardless of who they are or how long they've been roughing up major league pitching.
Towers is also extremely confident in Bauer's mental makeup, saying "This guy has met every challenge we've thrown at him. He was a proven winner at ULCA, he won in the Cal League, he won in the Southern League and he's won in the PCL (Pacific Coast League), one of the more difficult places to pitch…"
That's enough to sell me that Bauer is ready for at least a shot at being more than a stop-gap as the D-backs figure out how to cope with the loss of Daniel Hudson. If Bauer goes out Thursday and throws six or seven innings of one or two run ball, great! If he gets lit up for five or six runs in four innings, throw him out there again in another five days to see how he responds.
In a season that's tried the patience of every D-backs fan out there, enjoy this moment. This kid has the potential to be really special, even if that special doesn't happen right away.