The Cleveland Indians’ rotation needs a spark. Aside from Zach McAllister, who is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA, the other starters have struggled greatly. Players like Carlos Corasco and Danny Salazar have ERAs over seven in their first three starts. Even ace Justin Masterson has scuffled in the early going allowing 14 runs in 21.2 innings. The club’s 4.23 ERA is 12th among the 15 American League teams and would be a lot worse without some stellar relief contributions. Someone is needed to clean up that mess, and that someone may be top prospect Trevor Bauer.
Throughout Bauer’s career he has been his own worst enemy. As a former first round draft choice, he was expected to quickly ascend to the big league. While he got there fast, it was not permanent. When he did debut with the Diamondbacks, he ran into trouble with his extensive personal warm-ups and his run-ins with veteran Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. These troubles caused Bauer to be dealt to the Indians.
With the Indians, Bauer has not been hit all over the park, but he has instead been plagued by wildness. In his four starts with the Indians last season, Bauer walked 16 batter in 17 innings pitched. Many of these runners eventually came in to score. In AAA Columbus, his control problems showed as he walked 73 hitters in just 121.1 innings of work. These struggles not only hurt his ERA, but raised his pitch count greatly and limited his innings.
This year, Bauer has seemed to harness his control. In 12 minor league innings, he has walked just three batters. He has lowered his walk total to a career best 2.2 per nine innings, while striking out 13.5 per nine.
Although he lost in his spot start with the Indians this season, Bauer’s quality start was impressive. Being only a call away in Columbus, if Bauer continues to shine he should be in Cleveland very soon. Always viewed as an elite arm, Bauer could be the ingredient that keeps Cleveland at the top of the AL Central.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference