There’s really no other way to say it, I guess. The Indians are ruining one of the top pitching prospects in the game, the supposed crown jewel that was to become the defining moment in Chris Antonetti’s career as General Manager.

Trevor Bauer is no longer Trevor Bauer.

He’s a wreck — both mentally and physically. And, frankly, it’s a slow moving train barring down those creaky tracks of failed superstardom, heading directly for the uncompleted bridge barely spanning half of a cavernous valley below. This isn’t going to end well. Not at all. Not unless the Tribe starts furiously pumping the breaks.

Bauer’s latest debacle on Friday night — 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 6 H — is cause for enough concern. But it was the right-hander’s spot on impersonation of closer-turned-starter Danny Graves: pitching from the stretch the entire game, however short it may have been.

By now everyone’s aware of both Bauer’s vast potential — he’s punched out nearly 11 batters per nine innings in his minor league career — but also his bouts of wildness, particularly at the major league level. The former Bruin has made eight big league starts, five of those he’s issued at least four free passes. All of which has led to a higher walk (7.8 BB/9) than strikeout (7.6 K/9) rate.

His problems, of course, aren’t limited to just big league competition: he’s averaged a whopping five free passes every nine innings during his time in Columbus this year too.

And, yet, the Indians have continued the ridiculous yo-yo pattern of calling Bauer up for a spot start and then pushing him back down to Triple-A.

He’s 22-years-old, blessed with one of the better right arms in the minors, and his head is so messed up he didn’t feel comfortable enough to pitch out of the windup as a starting pitcher. Starting. Pitcher.

The kid needs to clear his head, find himself, and workout whatever issues that seem to be plaguing him, either physical or mental. And he doesn’t need to be doing it at the game’s most competitive level, especially not with the added pressure of a potential playoff spot within a reasonable grasp.

He’s 22-years-old, not 26. What’s the rush?

The Cardinals continue to act like a well-oiled machine when it comes to player development by placing guys in the best scenarios to succeed when they are ready. The Indians are doing neither right now. Instead, they’re mimicking a fellow AL Central foe: the Kansas City Royals. And that train is chugging right along, slowly picking up speed as it rhythmically bounces down those tracks.

 

For prospect analysis check out Joe’s site: ProspectDigest.com

7 Comments

  • johngunn51 says:

    The only mistake the Indians have made w Bauer is trading for him. The guy will be out of baseball in 2-3 yrs. His fastball is average and he can’t control his breaking pitches, so everybody waits for a fastball to square up. He works so slowly and throws so many pitches and walks so many batters that the fielders fall asleep behind him. I said when they got him he could turn out to be a Tim Lincecum or an Oil Can Boyd. He is clearly the latter. Should be wearing a lab coat and chasing neutrinos around the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Sean Porter says:

    While its questionable if the Tribe should have brought him up yet this year – to say the Indians are ruining Bauer is ridiculous. TREVOR BAUER is ruining Trevor Bauer. Why do you think the Diamondbacks couldn’t wait to unload the 3rd overall pick a year after drafting him? Bauer, at this point, is a classic example of a kid who would rather get hammered doing it his way than to possibly succeed by listening to someone else. Unless he grows up, and shows some humility, he’s going to be a bust.

    He’s literally the Indians version of Nuke LaLoosh.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    I agree with Sean. Bauer appeared in several big league games last year. He acquitted himself well in his first three spot starts this year. The team needed him to pitch. Prospects get called up for spot starts all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not like he’s going back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. That would be wrong. Bauer got traded because of his lack of command and his perceived uncoachability, traits that are both still present. But he’s only 22. Most pitchers his age haven’t even reached AAA yet. It’s better to compete at AAA and get roughed up a bit than to beat up on A-ball kids and learn nothing from it. You probably won’t see him get called up again anyway. McAllister is almost back and Carrasco will get any extra opportunities that arise.

  • The Doctor says:

    now i’m normally among the most pessimistic of the regular commenters here, but this one seems a little overblown to me. a couple of salient points:

    - he is not the first player in major league history to get beaten around in the first inning of a start
    - take out this recent horrific “effort”, and his ERA in 3 starts was 2.76
    - it is not even slightly unusual for teams to use prospects for spot starts/doubleheaders (particularly if said prospects already have their service clock running)
    - he’s only 22! with a total of 33.1 major league innings pitched!

    this reeks of massive overreaction to me – we’re saying the indians are “ruining” him based on 2/3 of an inning? if he went 7 with 10 K’s and 1 ER, would this article have been written? of course not.

    • Joseph Werner says:

      I respectfully disagree. I just think when a starting pitcher that begins a game out of the stretch should not be in the majors until he does feel comfortable — especially one that has the command issues he’s shown.

      This topic has been on my mind for awhile now, actually. What other organization would continue to call up its top pitching prospect several times for spot starts and then turn around and push him back to Triple-A? It’s a faulty plan.

      And even with the exclusion of his most recent start, his peripherals are absolutely atrocious: 15 BB, 11 K, 16.1 IP.

      The point I’m trying to make is: he’s not ready; look at his Triple-A numbers (mainly the walks). If he can’t throw the ball over the plate in Triple-A, what makes the Tribe brass think he’s capable of doing so against superior talent?

      Bauer’s not polished, nor is he ready. And the Indians are trying to force the issue.

  • medfest says:

    On one level I agree with Joe,bouncing a blue chipper around smacks of desperation,in the abstract.

    But…..each case is different and Bauer is receiving what I would consider a much needed wake up call with every start he receives at the major league level.

    If Ubaldo Jimenez, another talented pitcher with ….ahem…quirks in his delivery, had been exposed a bit early in his career he might not have skated by on talent for a few seasons before his delivery problems caught up with him.

    I believe Bauers biggest problem is his hands are too low when he starts his wind up,pitching from the stretch means this has been recognized as a problem which at least is encouraging.

  • I agree with what you’re saying but I don’t blame it on the Indians. Trevor is making a fatal mistake by attempting to alter his mechanics, actually a major overhaul, during the season. I wrote an article before the season started on why I think he’s making a mistake. http://baseballthinktank.com/why-you-shouldnt-focus-on-pitching-mechanics-during-the-season/

    It’s impossible to make these types of changes at the highest level during a competitive cycle. The results speak for themselves.

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