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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: IS TREVOR BAUER WORTH ANOTHER LOOK?

Even though it seems as though he has been around forever, hard-throwing Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer enters into the 2016 season only 25 years of age.  Having debuted back in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks where he came up as one of the more hyped power pitching prospects in the game, Bauer has gone up and down more than an elevator since then in terms of numbers.  In fact Bauer's production has swung wildly from start-to-start, with one game resulting in a 2-hit/10-K gem followed by a 5-earned run bombing in 2 innings.  As a result of all the volatility, Bauer has become sort of a toxic guy in fantasy baseball circles as there is a growing faction that believes his horrific career-long control will never allow him to be the ace he was once thought to be destined for.  Well if 2016 spring training is any indication, maybe just maybe Bauer is ready to unleash that potential as he finishes the Cactus League campaign with a 2.25 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 19 K's in 20 innings for the Indians.  By now it is common knowledge not to read too much into spring training results but at least it is encouraging to see Bauer posting a low WHIP which is where he has hurt his owners the most in his career (never below 1.30 in his four years in the game).  However even in looking at his 2015 numbers, there were signs that Bauer was perhaps making that jump from erratic youngster to potent veteran.  Yes the 1.31 WHIP was ugly but that mark was the lowest of his career which at least is something.  In addition, Bauer posted his best hit rate by a wide margin as he gave up just 152 in his 176 innings.  As always, Bauer struck out a high rate of batters with 170 whiffs in those 176 innings pitched.  Thus it stands to reason that Bauer is starting to make that jump and that at the age of 25, he is ready to further cement himself as a top-of-the-rotation arm for 2016.  While we have been big critics of Bauer in the past, his price has dropped so low that the upside is worth paying for.  Bauer has the type of power arm that could result in an easy 200 strikeouts if all breaks right and that alone makes him very interesting.  We are not holding our breath here but at the same time we also are willing to give him another shot. 

Update:  Bauer apparently will begin the season in the bullpen which is quite a shock.  Be that as it may, it is only a matter of time before an injury puts him back in so the same deal applies.  Also if Bauer were to somehow find the ninth inning, he could be insanely good.

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