If you made it big in the restaurant business, you got a Chef’s Table.
At Fantasy Alarm we have one too. Expect here you don’t need a reservation. Or a fat stack to pay for it.
The best part about the Chef’s Table is that you get to watch the preparation of your food from start to finish. Seeing every intricate detail that goes into your dish while enjoying the company of family and friends. Well, that’s what I’m gonna give you here.
Each week I will profile a player based on increased street cred throughout the industry. Whether because of a recent hot streak, increased playing time or a promotion because of an injury. From there I will break down the recipe for that player’s success and determine if he is just a flash in the pan or someone who is gonna bring home the bacon.
The day has come. Unless you have been living under a rock the last few days, you probably already know that Trevor Bauer will be promoted by the Indians to start Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. While he has been the buzz throughout fantasy circles for upwards of a month, Bauer appears to have finally pitched his way into a long-term role with the Tribe, and by how much he has been hyped there is a lot to be desired. But just how good will he actually be?
Let’s go back to his days with the Diamondbacks. Taken as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, it took less than a full season in the minor leagues before getting the call around the midway point of the 2012 season, but his early success did not translate to the big leagues. In four starts that season (16.1 IP), Bauer posted a 6.06 ERA and 1.65 WHIP but did manage to strikeout one batter per inning pitched (17 K). Unfortunately, he struggled with his command (13 BB) and finished the season back at the Triple-A level.
Knowing how deep the Diamondbacks organization was in terms of pitching (at the time), the Diamondbacks decided to part ways with the struggling youngster, sending him off to Cleveland in a three-way trade which landed the Diamondbacks Didi Gregorius, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson. In his first season with the Tribe, Bauer went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in four big league starts (17.0 IP) failing to make a good first impression (16:11 BB:K). However, the 2014 season has been a different story having turned his falling career into a success story.
Similar to that of Tim Lincecum, Bauer was known for his bizarre warm up techniques and mechanic drills in the early years of his career, but have since been altered and the results have been outstanding. Through 52 innings between Triple-A and his one big league start in 2014 (8 starts), Bauer has been able to fix his control problems, issuing just 16 walks which translates to a 2.8 BB/9, while striking out 52 batters over that same stretch. While his production thus far seems miles away from his past lackluster performances, there is still reason to temper the high expectations the fnatasy world is placing on him this time around.
There is no question that he has the stuff to be a top notch starter, be has the tendency to fall behind to hitters with his breaking balls rarely going over for strikes, which could lead to bad situations against big league hitters. At the same time, he does hold the ability to force a lot of swing and misses outside of the strike zone sitting with an O-Swing percentage of just over 40 percent. Either way you look at it, there are going to be days in which this could be either a good problem or a bad problem depending on the patience of the opposing lineup.
Aside from his command concerns, Bauer has been home run-prone over the early portion of his career. He has allowed five home runs over his first nine major league starts from 2012-14 (39.1 IP), while coughing up 19 long balls in 167.1 minor league innings since joining the Tribe (5 HR in seven starts in ’14). Although he isn’t the shortest pitcher to take the mound (6’1”), he isn’t able to get the same downward motion in the ball like taller hurlers, so that could work against him especially now facing more experienced hitter at the highest level.
When dealing with young players with this much hype it is easy to be fooled by all the hoopla. I have been fooled; you have been fooled; we have all been fooled a time or two. In the case of Bauer there aren’t many fantasy players out there that haven’t fallen for his tricks in the past, which has made me hesitant to label him a “must-add” player up to this point. However, considering the lack of pitching depth on most wavier wires, Bauer gets the vote of approval although he should be on a very short leash this time around.
With the bulk of the Indians starting pitchers struggling out the gates, Bauer has a good chance of sticking around for a while, even if his production slips slightly now at the next level. His fantasy value relies solely on his command. If he can continue to limit his walks like he has in the minor leagues, he should succeed. If not, this will likely be his last time called up as a starter, which would be a shame considering his elite arsenal. You only get so may chances to show what you got and he has already had a few. There is no easier way to say it, but it is put up or shut up time with Tuesday being his first test to prove himself.
Bauer is currently owned in less than 40 percent of leagues throughout the major providers (Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS) but that number is expected to climb given he performs well in trip to the mound on Tuesday. Those in deep mixed leagues will want to stake their claim on this former top prospect who has the ability to strikeout a batter per inning while keeping his walk rate at a respectable mark if his minor league production carries over to the next level.
Until next time, study hard and eat plenty!