Don't give up on D-backs' Bauer just yet
One inning into his home debut, Trevor Bauer looked every bit the top prospect, as he struck out the side and gave the fans something to be excited about.
Two innings into his home debut, Bauer had given up a pair of runs. And sure enough, I received a text. The text read: "Bauer is not ready for the majors."
Bauer did not have a good night. The right-hander allowed seven runs - six earned - on six hits. He walked as many batters as he struck out (four), and was pulled after 3.1 innings of work.
The pitcher has allowed eight earned runs in 7.1 major league innings -- a total that spans two starts -- and has tallied a 9.82 ERA. He's struck out seven, which is nice, but also walked seven, and in a word, has been underwhelming.
But the guess here is Bauer will be just fine.
"There's no reason to panic, it's a bad outing," Bauer said after his start Tuesday.
Bauer said his struggles are magnified because this is the major leagues, and he's right.
For a guy who has had success everywhere he's gone, the fact that he's getting lit up for the D-backs has sounded the alarm for some. Maybe his warm-up routine wears him down. Maybe he needs to work on his control. Maybe he's trying too hard to strike batters out, instead of just throwing strikes and letting them hit.
That may all be true. Or not. Time will tell.
Bauer knows he has to get better, he said as much. But the talent is there, and he'll get through these struggles.
"I've been doing the same thing for years and years and years," Bauer said. "There's no reason to panic or change."
The only thing Bauer needs is experience, and it's the kind he'll only get at the major league level. Sure, he could go back to the minors and work on his command, but Triple-A hitters are more apt to swing at bad pitches, to not work counts, to make Bauer look great.
Which they did, as the 21-year-old went 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA in eight starts with the Aces. Yes, he walked 22 in 44.2 innings of work, but he struck out 56, too. Was he perfect? No. But he was dominant, and has nothing left to prove at that level.
"We know he's got great stuff, and we're going to try and refine some things so he can have more success his next time out," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Tuesday. "It's tough. There's a lot of pressure on him, there's been a lot built up about him.
"It hasn't went well for him; it's part of being in the big leagues."
Some of baseball's best players had rocky beginnings to their careers, so the fact that Bauer has had a couple of bad outings is no cause for alarm. Would it have been nice to see him come out of the gates better? Absolutely.
Bauer was drafted third overall in 2011, and since the day the D-backs called his name people have been eagerly anticipating his arrival at Chase Field. Many had unreasonable expectations for the rookie -- something Gibson alluded to, and will soon settle down and be the pitcher everyone thinks he'll ultimately be.
"He just has to keep his head up and keep battling; I think he'll be fine," catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's got to learn a little bit more about the big league hitters."
He'll do that only by remaining with the Diamondbacks, and it would behoove the team to stick with the youngster no matter how much he struggles. The pitcher is still confident, so there's no issue there, and it's obvious he has an impressive arsenal of pitches.
Bauer also has the type of work ethic that makes you really believe he'll correct whatever issues he has. And when he does, his pregame routine will not be the only thing worth watching.
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