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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: TREVOR BAUER SP CLEVELAND INDIANS

The magical age-27 season bears fruit yet again!  Whether it concerns a hitter or a pitcher, the general consensus is that an MLB player's prime years begin around the age of 27 and that the age also becomes one where the previous rough edges get ironed out to a degree.  Take the case of 27-year-old Cleveland Indians power pitcher Trevor Bauer who through two months of the 2018 season has been one of the very best pitchers in baseball with the following numbers:

4-3
2.35 ERA
1.15 WHIP
.212 BAA
10.11 K/9
3.18 BB/0
0.42 HR/9
.290 BABIP

Now in his fifth full season in the majors after two initial cup of coffee appearances the two years prior to that stretch, Bauer's previous performances made him one of the most frustrating players to own among all pitchers in fantasy baseball.  The reason is that for all of Bauer's massive strikeout ability, he also infuriated his owners due to incredibly high walk rates and some trouble with the long ball.  As you can see by the numbers above however, Bauer is in the midst of a career-year and the totality of his work so far has him in ace fantasy baseball territory.

Taking the numbers apart some, the ERA and WHIP are easy career-bests to this point and the .212 BAA shows that Bauer is as hard to get a hit off of as any pitcher in the game.  With incredible movement on his offspeed stuff generating a ton of swings-and-misses by itself, Bauer's average of 95.5 on his fastball (a personal best so far) have him an impossible chore for opposing hitters this season.  A 10.11 K/9 has been the tremendous result and other than a still-high 3.18 BB/9, Bauer has been terrific no matter where you look.  Now the question is whether he can keep it up and on that front, I think there is a bit of slight giveback on the way.  For one thing, Bauer' s 0.42 HR/9 is in outlier territory compared to his career standards and his walks are still somewhat of an issue.  Still, Bauer's FIP ERA of 2.71 is sparkling and even his less bullish 3.53 XFIP would still mark a career-low ERA if the season ended today.  So if you hold stock in Bauer, this is a hold all the way around.


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