Bauer says he started throwing long-toss at the age of 10. "I just always loved to throw," Trevor said. "I remember back to when I was 5, maybe, and just playing catch with my dad. And I just always loved to throw. To me, the more you throw, the better you get at it.
"Throwing long-toss helps give me the ability to make adjustments. If you're long-tossing and missing the target by three feet, you have to adjust to hit the target. The way I long-toss and the way I have conditioned my whole body, I'm able to maintain my stuff," Bauer said.
On most afternoons when Trevor was a boy in Santa Clarita, Calif., he would hang a bucket of 48 baseballs from each of his handlebars of his bike and pedal to a local park. His father spent most of the week in New Mexico, running the custom door and furniture company he had opened after he quit working in oil.
Warren and Kathy Bauer told their son that they would stretch to pay for his pitching lessons with Wagner and, later, the long toss guru Alan Jaegar, only if he practiced. So he did, throwing ball after ball against the fence of a tennis court and making sure to return home with each of the 96 balls he had brought with him. He practiced alone; he didn't have any friends. Bauer recalls kids jeering at him -- "you're such a nerd" -- as he rode by with his buckets.
"Trevor's an expert in being bullied," says Warren. "His whole childhood is littered with instances of it, and a lot of his professional career has been punctuated by the same type of impediment."
"For the longest time, I just couldn't figure out why everyone hated me," Trevor says. "I used to feel really bad for myself. Like, Why don't I have any friends? Why don't girls like me? Why does everyone s--- - talk me? Am I really that bad of a person?"
One morning during his junior year at Hard, Bauer returned home from an early pool workout, took a shower and looked at himself in the mirror, feeling sorry for himself as usual. Then something flipped.
"I don't see anything that I dislike," he said to himself. "I'm going to go off to college and play baseball. I'm successful. I'm smart. I like myself."
From that day forward, he says, "I just stopped giving a f--- what people thought of me. And now I just don't care."
Braduer graduated high school a year early because he despised it, and enrolled at UCLA as a mechanical engineering major before the 2009 season. (Ben Reiter - Sports Illustrated - 2/25/2019)
In the summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Hart High in Valencia, Calif., Bauer spent three days at Ron Wolforth's Texas Baseball Ranch outside Houston, where experts in biomechanics and shoulder health introduced him to advanced pitching concepts that resonated with his inner empiricist.
He went back to the ranch for three weeks the following summer, then five weeks the year after, and has kept going back every summer since. He learned about pitch sequencing and effective velocity and tunneling. He learned about full-body training, building his workout routine around explosive, fast-twitch movements in five-second bursts followed by 20 seconds of rest, simulating the rhythm of pitching. He learned about the rubber-band effect—the importance of creating tension with his hips and core, and then releasing it in sync.
"The more you can stretch things and the quicker you can release them, the more powerful it is," he says. "When I was introduced to the whole use-your-pelvis thing—momentum toward the plate, arm action stuff—was right about the time Tim Lincecum came up in the big leagues. He was the best example of what I thought they were trying to teach."
In 2008, Hart High's baseball team was pretty good. Its starting pitchers were future Major Leaguers Mike Montgomery and Trevor Bauer.
In December 2008, Bauer graduated from Hart High School in Valencia, California, leaving school a year early, as a junior. In his junior year, he went 12-0 with a 0.79 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 71 innings and four shutouts.
During Trevor's high school years, he had an offseason routine of taking a bucket of baseballs to a local park to throw long toss as part of his arm-strengthening regimen. He walked to the park alone because he couldn't find anyone to throw with him.
"I didn't have any friends," Bauer says with the emotion of someone reading a grocery list.
He threw baseballs from one side of the park to the other, each ball smacking a wooden fence surrounding a tennis court. He did this for almost a year, until a tennis coach decided to hold lessons on that court while Bauer did his throwing. The coach told him to stop. Trevor refused, telling his baseball coach, "Sorry if I wasn't taught to be blindingly allegiant to authority.".But that wasn't Bauer's main gripe with the tennis coach. The letter to the baseball coach included the phrase, "The unexpected repetitiveness of the ball hitting the fence. How could something be repetitive and unexpected at the same time? If it's repetitve, don't you come to expect it?" Bauer said.
Bauer went to UCLA as a 17-year-old freshman. And he went 9-3 with a 2.99 ERA to earn freshman All-America honors. As a sophomore in 2010, he was 12-3, 3.02 ERA with a school-record and Division I-leading 165 strikeouts in 131 innings. As a junior in 2011, Bauer was named as the Golden Spikes Award winner. He went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA and 203 strikeouts over 137 innings. He walked just 36 and held opponents to a .154 batting average. Bauer also led the nation in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings while finishing fourth in ERA.
For his career, Trevor established new records at UCLA, including 460 career strikeouts, 34 wins, and 373 pitching innings.
At UCLA, Bauer had an unconventional approach for his pregame preparation ritual. First, he got loose with some stretching, but it wasn't conventional. He was kicking a hacky-sack around. Then he did limbering exercises for his legs and hips.
"I try to get my lower body loose first, because I use my whole body when I throw, not just my arm," Trevor explained.
Next up was what his teammates call the "javelin," a long, flexible rod that Bauer held in the middle and shook. It apparently works something like a Shake Weight and works the arm muscles.
With those arm muscles limbered up, Bauer really got to work, beginning his long-toss routine. He started throwing from a half-speed pitching motion from about 50 feet, and he slowly worked his way across the field from the teammate he was throwing with. They started near the right-field line. Soon, Trevor was crow-hopping into every throw and stretching out to center field, then left-center, then close to the left-field foul pole.
The final piece of the puzzle for Bauer's routine is his first warmup throw of every inning. He starts behind the rubber, runs over the mound, and throws as hard as he can to the plate, from about 54 feet. A few of those throws have registered 100 mph. (John Manuel-Baseball America-6/19/10)
STUDENT OF THE GAME
The son of a chemical engineer, Trevor has always looked at pitching as a science. Warren Bauer didn't play much baseball as a boy, he taught his son to view pitching through a scientific prism. They read about Cubans who threw coconuts to build arm strength, so they soaked baseballs in water to make them heavier. They drove nails into softballs, a trick Nolan Ryan used to add weight. They sometimes hollowed out balls, shoving sand and fishing weights inside.
At a young age, Trevor took pitching classes in Valencia, Calif., with a family friend and former college pitcher named Jim Wagner. Wagner was a police officer in nearby Glendale at the time, and Bauer was his only client.
In elementary school Bauer was teased by classmates because he wore baseball pants instead of jeans. In high school he was taunted by teammates because he carried a six-foot plastic shoulder tube that loosened his arm. Coaches called it Linus's blanket. "A lot of people don't want to be different," Bauer says. "And if they are, they hide it so no one holds it against them. But I didn't want to be at the mall at 10:00 p.m.—I wanted to be at the park." (Lee Jenkins-Sports Illustrated-8/15/11)
Bauer will tell you that virtually every play in a baseball game takes 12 seconds or less, so his workout regimen consists of vigorous exercises that last no more than a fifth of a minute. He will tell you that every hitter must decide to swing no later than the first 20 feet a pitch is in the air, so he practices throwing into a metal grid 20 feet in front of the mound to ensure that all his pitches start on the same plane.
Bauer has at one time or another deployed 19 different pitches, some of which he may have invented: They include the "reverse slider" (a harder variation of the screwball) and "the bird" (a splitter thrown with the middle finger raised). (Lee Jenkins-Sports Illustrated-8/15/11)
In 2012, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bauer as the #1 prospect in the Diamondbacks' organization. In the spring of 2014, they had Trevor as the third best prospect in the Indians' farm system.
Trevor's favorite player is Giants' RHP Tim Lincecum.
Bauer speaks rather softly and slowly. He pauses frequently to ponder which words to use—not that he is trying to be guarded, he is just very thoughtful.
"Trevor always has a million questions. Some of them are ethereal, but they are all insightful," says Alan Jaeger, whose long-toss program is part of Bauer's training. "He pitches with the wisdom of Greg Maddux."
Asked what he does to relax on days off and during the off-season, Bauer said, "I do play video games every now and then. I played a lot in college, but kind of got over that and didn't like wasting that much time that doesn't give me anything in return. I'm getting into music a lot, listening and writing songs and making beats. That's kind of my hobby that I do in my free time when I'm not working out or studying pitching
"I enjoy watching UFC. And I enjoy college basketball. Basketball is a passion in life more than anything else. I live and die by [Duke's team] every year, so that's a knock on me given that I went to UCLA. But I've been a Duke fan my whole life. Overall, I enjoy living a relaxed lifestyle and enjoy playing baseball."
Bauer bought a house in Houston over the winter before 2012 spring training to be near his favorite workout facility, the Texas Baseball Ranch.
In 2012, the Diamondbacks named Trevor their Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
- Bauer already had a reputation after only four big-league starts. He knows what they were saying in Arizona on his way out the door. Too stubborn. Too contrarian. Too eccentric.
A radical in the conservative world of Major League Baseball, a mechanical engineering major in college who can play a mean game of chess one night, and sing rap the next, with his latest entitled: "You Don't Know Me."
"When you go against the norm, not just in baseball," Bauer says, "you face a little scrutiny and become very noticeable. Some people focus on it. People draw their own conclusions, and people who don't even know me, are saying, 'Oh, he's this, or he's that.' You're not in position to do that."
Yes, he's different. He plays long-toss from 350 feet. He walks around in the clubhouse carrying a long shoulder tube for arm exercises. He meditates. And he can explain the science, methodology, and physiology of his pitching mechanics.
"He's got a lot of stuff in that head of his," says veteran pitcher Brett Myers. "I sat down with him to talk about his mechanics, and he was talking about physics, chemical reactors, and biochemistry crap, and body creating a force. I'm like, 'What the hell?' I couldn't even pronounce the words he's saying."
"How am I supposed to wish I did something differently if I didn't know in the first place," Bauer says. "I learn lessons from everything I do in life. I'm trying to figure it out just like anybody else. I wish I would have thrown 90 mph at the age of 14. Do I regret it? No.
"Everybody makes mistakes. I've probably made some big mistakes. But the real mistake would be not learning from your mistakes."
Jason Giambi, age 42 in 2013 and trying to make the Indians, was already in the big leagues when Bauer was 4 years old. Giambi knows what it's like to be considered different. He had long hair, tattoos, and a wild lifestyle back in the days with the Oakland A's. And he always preferred hitting in the indoor cage to taking live batting practice.
"I kind of love it that he thinks outside the box," Giambi says. "I love that he's a young player with enough confidence in himself to do things differently. And it's different only because some of the stuff goes against baseball reasoning."
Alan Jaeger, Bauer's pitching consultant and family friend, says he believes Bauer will live up to the original expectations, and the Indians say they have a future ace.
"I personally feel like the best is coming out of this kid," Jaeger says. "He feels like this is a new beginning."
And for those critics out there on the radio talk shows, in the newspapers, on the internet and Twitter, Bauer frankly doesn't care.
"My life isn't different because of what people think of me," Bauer says. "Really, the only time it sucks for me is when people on Twitter blast you for no reason.
"But I just do what I do."
On May 28, 2013, Trevor released his latest rap song on YouTube entitled "Gutter to the Grail." The Indians are going from the "gutter" to the holy "grail," to hear it from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, in his latest rap. Bauer wrote and recorded the song for the Indians fan blog, Wahoo's on First, recently, so they could use it for the intro to their podcast.
February 2015: Bauer spent part of his offseason designing, building, and programming his own drone (or, more specifically, a quadcopter).
In the spring of 2015, Trevor kept his sense of humor after allowing back-to-back-to-back homers in a Cactus League game. And it's a good thing he brought it with him the following morning, too.
As the Indians started their morning meeting, members of the Goodyear Police Department were there to inform him that the balls hit by the Cubs' Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant were found, and that they were returning them to him. "We had a policeman come in and he said he was doing the traffic detail over on Estrella Parkway, and he said that roughly at 2:20 p.m., 2:21, and 2:22, three balls came in and disrupted traffic," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He gave them back to Trevor. I thought that really was fun." So did Bauer and his teammates, who Francona said were rolling with laughter once they caught the joke.
Bauer immediately tweeted out a playful response to the police prank, noting, "Seems I'm responsible for 3 broken windows outside the stadium yesterday."
Jason Kipnis hopped online pretty quickly, too, using an emoji to show he laughed until he cried. "Goodyear police just came in and returned 3 baseballs to Trevor Bauer saying they caused a backup in traffic yesterday - #back2back2back - Jason Kipnis (@TheJK_Kid)
March 11, 2015: Bauer, heading into his second full season in the Majors and well-known as a deep thinker and social-media maven, had gotten the jump on the joke right after he left the mound. "You've got to let the hitters have some fun in Spring Training, too, right?" Bauer quipped.
All of the hijinks were a welcome sight for Francona, noting that the 24-year-old Bauer might not have handled the situation quite the same when he first arrived with the Indians in 2013.
In fact, Francona was on the short list of possible perpetrators of the prank. "I probably had something to do with it. There's a rumor," Francona said. (Schlegel - mlb.com - 3/11/15)
Bauer likes to figure out how things work. It's what led him to taking a turn as Batting Stance Guy during an at bat against the Pirates at PNC Park in 2015. During the at-bat, he mimicked the stances and swings of teammates Mike Aviles, Jason Kipnis, and Ryan Raburn.
Behind the scenes, the Indians have had good discussions with Trevor about his approach for 2016 Spring Training and the season ahead. The picture painted of those conversations is a drastic contrast to the way the pitcher has handled the topic publicly.
Following a three-inning outing at Spring Training 2016, Bauer was abrupt with his answers and expressed disappointment with his performance. The right-hander used expletives to describe his curveball, and said his only goal was to throw his fastball as hard as he could during his second start of the spring.
"It's one of the only enjoyable things about baseball," Bauer said with a shrug. "I don't even know what kind of pitcher I want to be anymore. I just want to throw hard."
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said that Bauer is indeed working on his velocity, which dipped some in 2015 after Trevor spent the winter of 2014 focusing on command. In the 2015 offseason, Trevor concentrated on velocity training, and he tried to carry that work over into his Cactus League outings.
"I think he's in a pretty decent spot from what I'm seeing him try to do in the games," Callaway said. "Last year, it was fastball in, fastball in, fastball in to righties. And now, he's trying to throw fastballs away, trying to throw fastballs down and away, mixing his pitches. He's still got the same plan of attack to lefties—fastball in and throwing stuff off that. And he looks pretty good to me."
Callaway also said Bauer's public interviews do not reflect how their conversations have gone. "They're not like that, no," Callaway said.
Indians manager Terry Francona echoed that sentiment, noting that there has been productive dialogue behind closed doors with Bauer.
"If you answer people in a way that's either combative or short," Francona said, "you're kind of opening it up for them to write what they want. For whatever reason, Trevor's been like that. I'll see something he says in the media and it's a complete different tone than when I was talking to him. What's more important to me is what he says to us, but you also have to live with what you say. I know he can get real active on the Twitter and things like that. We've talked to him about stuff like that, but everybody's different." (Bastian - MLB.com - 3/9/16)
In 2013, Bauer saw a video of drones racing, and it reminded him of one of his favorite scenes in Star Wars on the planet Endor, where Luke and Leia Skywalker use speeders to escape storm-troopers in a forest.
“I was like, ‘That looks awesome, I’ve got to learn how to do that,’” Bauer said. “So I just started researching it and taught myself about it and how to do it and how to build them.”
It’s a complex task that, even in 2016, can’t be done with just a laptop. Drone builders learn over time to analyze wiring patterns while understanding transmission issues that cause highly intelligent and trained engineers to lose their minds and do something crazy—like turn on a baseball game.
“It would be very, very hard for the average person to just jump in and do it,” said Matt Waite, a professor at Nebraska who founded the school’s drone journalism lab. Bauer started building his first drone after the 2014 season. It took him about nine months of scouring message boards and ordering and piecing together parts. When his drone was finally ready, he took it out to his backyard, figuring it would hover easily for a few seconds.
It immediately crashed and shattered into pieces. Bauer spent the ensuing week figuring out what went wrong before he rebuilt the drone.
Now, two years later, Bauer has crafted nine small aircrafts entirely on his own. He sometimes reaches out to other drone enthusiasts on message boards and solicits tips and suggestions on social media, which is common in the world of unmanned aircrafts. But the handiwork—and the repairs—are entirely his. Bauer feels such an intimate connection with his drones that he christens them with names like Buzz, Anakin and Rocky.
It is as strange a hobby as any in baseball—even for a pitcher. And it sometimes bleeds into his day job. Bauer recently bought a 3D printer and prints out drone pieces while he’s at the ballpark. He had planned to take his drones for a spin inside of every stadium this year to shoot aerial videos, but then came another unexpected snag: MLB banned flying drones inside of stadiums. Instead, he flies in local parks like the one in Kansas City, and he brings two drones on every road trip.
“Inevitably both of them end up broken,” Bauer said.
Most of his colleagues on the Indians pass time the way players did the last time the team won the World Series: fishing, golfing, and the occasional bow-and-arrow shooting. Most players did not spend their downtime in spring training teaching themselves computer-aided design like Bauer did.
“If he’s smart, he wouldn’t let anyone touch (his drones) in this locker room,” said Jason Kipnis, who once tried to fly a drone his friend bought but failed to get it off the ground. But it is catching on. Lonnie Chisenhall, one of the team’s outfielders, bought his own drone this summer, inspired by Bauer. (Max Cohen - Oct. 7, 2016)
In 2011, Bauer was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the first round and had four starts with the team the following year.
In an interview with Arizona Sports, Bauer said that he planned to eat a piece of a cherry pie made by his sister Gracie before each start. Even when he was on the road, he had a slice of her pie.
Bauer said that it was a ritual he started at UCLA. The one time he didn’t eat a piece of her pie, the UCLA Bruins were no-hit. Unfortunately, Trevor was not able to attend his sister’s college graduation. However, his parents took a picture of Bauer on a stick. Clearly, Bauer isn’t the only member of the family with a sense of humor. Bauer also joked in September 2016 that if The Players Tribune wanted him to write a piece about his life, he’d ask his sister to ghostwrite it for him. (Daniel S. Levine - Oct. 2016)
Although Bauer’s father, Warren, was not a baseball player, his outlook on life had an impact on the way his son thinks about the sport. Warren, who worked as a chemical engineer and has an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines, inspired Bauer to think about baseball in scientific terms.
According to a 2011 Sports Illustrated profile of Bauer, the two used coconuts to throw, building his arm strength. They used a Nolan Ryan trick by putting nails into a softball to add weight. They would also toss hollowed-out balls, with sand and fishing weights inside.
“We wanted Trevor to learn how to throw the right way,” Warren told SI. “We never imagined there was such a huge divide in how you go about doing that.
“Engineers have a certain process, where you have a problem…You have your goal and then you have your starting point. You gotta know both before you design a process to get from the starting point to the end goal,” Bauer told Scout.com.
"I think that process that my Dad has taught me my whole life— identify where you are, identify where you want to go, and design a process to get there— is something that is shared by Kyle in a lot of ways, that same mindset.” As Cleveland.com noted when Bauer joined the Indians, he studied mechanical engineering at UCLA. (Daniel S. Levine - Oct. 2016)
A white bucket sat on the back of the mound constructed inside Driveline Baseball's research facility, filled with baseballs of different weights and sizes. Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer stood within a metal grid fixed with high-speed cameras, detailing the list of drills he does daily during his offseason workouts at the complex outside Seattle.
Really, not much has changed over the years for Bauer. In his youth, Bauer would hook a bucket of baseballs to the handlebars of his bike and ride over to a park near his California home. Baseball practice was over. The workout with his pitching instructor was complete. Still, Bauer would find a fence -- when his dad was away in New Mexico for work, Bauer rarely had a throwing partner -- and repeatedly fire balls into the chain links. It was the beginning of what has essentially been a life-long science experiment.
"I didn't have any friends in high school. I didn't have any friends in grade school," Bauer said. "So, my parents, they raised me, one, to not be blindly allegiant to authority. They raised me to think for myself and also to just believe that I was working for something down the road that my peers weren't going to have, and that I'd be better off in life for it. Take the long-term approach."
That mindset, which Bauer said was instilled in him around the age of six, is what has powered his path to having a home in Cleveland's deep and talented rotation. Given his father Warren's background in engineering, Bauer was raised to question, test, evaluate and then question some more. Bauer views his body as a system and science as the key to unlocking that system's ability to turn an unathletic kid into a Major League pitcher.
That process is what led to Bauer being introduced to Kyle Boddy, who runs Driveline and has watched the facility and its approach to training gain momentum over the past several years. When Bauer first walked into the Driveline back in 2013, there was room for a mound, a squat rack, a handful of weights and a desk littered with tech equipment. Now, Boddy's complex has three buildings and is a constant hive of activity. While Bauer gave a tour of the research space, there were workers placing sensors on another pitcher, prepping him for a digital scan that would break down his biomechanics. Other athletes tossed weighted balls into vertical boards, while another worked off a mound. Each pitch thrown churned out a slew of data -- velocity, spin rate, vertical and horizontal movement, for example -- which immediately flashed on a nearby tablet.
Bauer's love of science really took hold during his freshman year at Hart High School, where he took a Newtonian physics class taught by Martin Kirby. That class sparked Bauer's intrigue in the various elements involved in making a baseball spin and move through the air. That continues to be Bauer's focus in the winter at Driveline, where he will stick pushpins in a ball in order to study how to manipulate its path to the catcher's glove.
"I feel like it's home away from home," Bauer said with a smile. "I feel like I'm able to be who I am, because this is all the stuff I do anyway. It's just nice to have like-minded people around, so that the ideas that I have or have considered, there's other ideas to bounce off that. So, the conversation and the research and stuff moves a lot quicker when there's more like-minded people around attacking the same problem from different angles."
That, really, is all Bauer has ever wanted, but his unique personality -- one that often includes unfiltered commentary -- has gotten him into trouble in the past. As a rookie, Bauer did not go along with everything the D-backs asked of him and he was deemed uncoachable and soon traded to the Indians. Even with Cleveland, Bauer and former pitching coach Mickey Callaway did not see eye-to-eye.
Bauer said he knows he has "ruined relationships" along the way, but the pitcher emphasized that his only wish is to hear the "why" when given instruction on approach or training. Throughout his life, the methods Bauer has adopted have been based on research and experimentation not only by himself, but from coaches and analysts that he has surrounded himself with since youth. Put it this way: Bauer does not care what you think, but he is interested in hearing what you know. Carl Willis, the Indians' new pitching coach, said he appreciates that mentality.
"I know he has different ideas. They aren't things that he just pulled out of the clouds. He does research," Willis said. "Some of those things, I'm learning. I told him: 'I want to learn. I want to talk to you about them, because I want to be able to understand.' But, at the same time, I said, 'I'm going to have ideas, things that I think could help you. Take them for what they're worth. I'm not pulling things out of the clouds, either.'"
The other thing that Bauer wants to make clear is that his every waking moment is dedicated to becoming the best pitcher possible, which he hopes is eventually the best pitcher in baseball. Bauer does not binge TV shows. He has no interest in card games with teammates in the clubhouse. The idea of marriage makes him laugh. He has hobbies -- like building his own website or designing and constructing his own fleet of drones -- but those are aimed at keeping his mind sharp. He doesn't drink or smoke. To Bauer, everything else feels like wasted time that he could be spending honing his craft.
In December 2012, Bauer met Boddy at a conference in Texas and was blown away by the instructor's presentation on G sensors and gyroscopes. Part of Boddy's talk involved a discussion on high-speed cameras to break down pitching mechanics, which was something Bauer had already been using in his workouts. Bauer was having an issue with his cameras -- frames were being skipped -- and consulted Boddy to see if he could help.
Boddy suggested trying a different type of memory card and the problem was solved. From there, they began a partnership that started with Bauer overhauling his delivery early in his tenure with the Tribe. The next phase was focusing on command and velocity training with some unique methods. This past winter, Bauer concentrated on pitch development, using frame-by-frame analysis of Corey Kluber's slurve in order to develop a new slider.
Why, following what was a career year, was Bauer so intent on adding a new pitch? "I didn't win the Cy Young, so the season was a failure in my eyes," Bauer said. "That's the standard I hold myself to, is being the best pitcher in the league and the best pitcher in baseball. So, if I'm not that, then there's a reason I'm not that and I've got to go figure it out." (Jordan Bastian - MLB.com - 4/05/2018)
When Bauer was a kid, he and his dad would drill holes in baseballs and stuff fishing weights inside, creating weighted balls for his workouts. Weighted-ball use is now commonplace around baseball. During the spring, the Indians have stations set up around the fields for pitchers who incorporate that into their daily drills. There are more pitchers trying out the long, black shoulder tube that Bauer uses. Eyebrows no longer rise at the sight of a pitcher doing extreme long-toss. What once was a spectable is now acceptable.
"I've taken all the arrows in the back along the way, so it's been kind of a painful ride," Bauer said. "I still take some arrows on new stuff I'm trying to do. The command program that I developed three or four years ago, in three or four more years it's going to be mainstream and you'll see everybody doing it. But, I've been ridiculed for doing it."
That has never been an issue at Driveline, where Bauer is surrounded by people with similar views on baseball and how to push it forward through science.
"When I'm 50, I'm going to look back and say, 'I wish this stuff existed when I played," Bauer said. "But, what I don't want to do is find out what did exist when I played and I didn't apply it and I didn't use it. So, that's one of my motivations for trying to use all this stuff and be the one driving the research forward. At least I can know, hey, I exhausted every resource I had available to me." (Jordan Bastian -MLB.com-April 5, 2018)
May 27, 2018: For the past few weeks, you could see something special Bruin. When Trevor Bauer used his Twitter account to insinuate -- purposely or otherwise -- that his former UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole and other Astros pitchers were using pine tar to improve their spin rates, you didn't have to look too deep into the schedule to see the potential for a Bauer vs. Houston or even a Bauer vs. Cole matchup. And because it wasn't exactly a state secret that Bauer and Cole, who have never faced each other, weren't exactly buddy-buddy in their Bruins days, that was a tantalizing proposition.
Finally it arrives: Bauer vs. Cole at 1:10 p.m. ET in the finale of a four-game set at Progressive Field. It is more than just a pairing of pitchers rising to the ranks of the elite on clubs that might be bound for an October affair (although that would be enticing enough). It is a matchup that places national attention on the strained relationship between these former collegiate co-aces and the UCLA program that they once elevated. "They were program changers, both of them," UCLA coach John Savage said. "I know UCLA is very proud of them and excited not only for now, but for their bright future."
Ah, but what of the past? It's all anybody has seemed to want to talk about from the day earlier this week that it became certain that the probables had properly aligned. Specifically, there was a USA Today story that exaggeratedly claimed the two won't speak about or even look at each other. "I talked to him at the [UCLA] alumni game this year and had a pleasant conversation about arbitration and what he was thinking for his number and my number, and stuff like that," Bauer said. "It was pleasant. I didn't sense any animosity on either end. So, yeah, it's a storyline. I get it. It's fun to write about, because you can play up the controversy and you can get a headline to click on, or whatever."
Cole wasn't as direct in speaking about the relationship between the two, but he noted that this is consecutive starts for him that have a bit of a personal touch, for better or worse. "I had enough to worry about [last start] against the Giants with my brother-in-law [Brandon Crawford] in that game," Cole said. "But obviously, playing the Indians, I'll treat it like any other start or opponent. I'm fortunate to lock up against a fantastic pitcher, so you know you're going to have to be on your game."
Cole and Bauer have both been on top of their games this 2018 season. They've both had some career ups and downs, even some moments in which they've struggled to live up to the pedigree of being the No. 1 (Cole) and No. 3 (Bauer) overall picks in the 2011 Draft. But in the early going of 2018, they're both on track to assert themselves into the American League Cy Young Award conversation. Cole is second in the AL only to teammate Justin Verlander in ERA with a 1.86 mark, and Bauer is seventh at 2.35.
Bauer and Cole, who were the first teammate tandem to go at Nos. 1 and 3 overall in the Draft since Arizona State's Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks in 1978, publicly express respect toward each other for putting it all together in '18. That doesn't mean they've become pals. Hardly. After the Twitter flap, the Astros, in general, aren't big fans of Bauer, though Cole addressed that issue as diplomatically as he could. "It would be irresponsible for me to comment on somebody else's opinions," Cole said.
Even when explaining he has "nothing against Gerrit," Bauer brought up an old wound. "We had a rocky relationship in college, because he told me I have no future in baseball, and he insulted my work ethic," Bauer said. "Those are two things I don't take kindly to." One reason this issue draws so much attention is that the game is relatively short on genuine strife between rival players. MLB might have a rule against fraternization between opposing players in uniform, but co-mingling is commonplace during pregame batting practice. So, yeah, there's something kind of fun about a little healthy discord. But how rocky was it, anyway?
"Hate is a strong word, and I don't think it's the right word in this scenario," Savage said. "At the end of the day, they were both Bruins. They respected each other, and the program. They wanted to get to [the College World Series in] Omaha, and they knew they needed each other in many ways. I think they both were motivated by each other."
If that's the case, it worked. Bauer skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at UCLA. Cole passed up the opportunity to sign with the Yankees for around $4 million as a first-round Draft pick to go to school. Together, they pitched for a UCLA program that had struggled to attain traction in the College World Series all the way to the National Championship Series, where they were runners-up in 2010. "Cole was our Friday guy, Bauer was our Saturday guy, and [Adam] Plutko was our Sunday guy," Savage said, "so it was a pretty good chance we were going to win that series each week."
Plutko, who was a freshman when Bauer and Cole were juniors, is now a rookie in the Tribe rotation. As in his early UCLA days, he'll have one of the best seats in the house watching Bauer and Cole do their thing. "They did it in completely different ways," said Plutko, who was on the 2013 UCLA team that won the school's first national championship. "Gerrit was up to 102 [mph] some games in college, and then Trevor would go out there and punch out 16. And that was the weekend."
Added Bauer: "For the tapestry of our lives, whether we want to be or not, we're intertwined." (A Castrovince - MLB.com - May 27, 2018)
July 2018 : Bauer was selected to the MLB All-Star game.
Oct 19, 2018: Trevor Bauer thought through his hectic schedule and weighed whether he needed to keep some suits on hand. There was a bullpen session for a biomechanics reading in Phoenix, a couple of season-ending assessments in Los Angeles and then some time at home in Houston. Bauer decided that his suits could be shipped to Seattle, where he spends the bulk of his time training over the offseason, and the Indians pitcher embarked on his itinerary. Then, while on a flight to Dallas, he received an e-mail from his agency. MLB Network wanted Bauer to join the MLB Tonight cast as a guest analyst for postseason coverage. There was just one request. The only thing they ask is that you bring two suits.
"I was like, 'Well, shoot,'" Bauer said with a laugh. After a frantic trip to a Dallas store, Bauer made his way to New York with a pair of awkward-fitting suits and offered his insights on air. The right-hander helped out with the post-game show after Boston's 8-6 win over the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, and then returned for pregame coverage before the Game 5 pennant-clinching victory for the Red Sox.
The game was a drama-filled tilt between Houston and Boston that lasted deep into the night, meaning Bauer did not appear on screen until 1:15 a.m. ET. Seated between analysts Al Leiter and Bill Ripken, Bauer was introduced by host Greg Amsinger. "How do you follow that?" Bauer asked with a smile.
There are many facets to Bauer's personality, but the one on display for a national audience was a polished professional who had plenty of experienced and technical insight to offer. Whether standing in front of his locker or typing on his Twitter account, Bauer is never shy about speaking his mind or offering strong opinions. On MLB Network, the pitcher looked and sounded right at home while providing analysis.
Behind the scenes, Bauer helped come up with ways to create a video that illustrated how Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's pitches work together. In the post-game show, Bauer helped with the breakdown of Jose Altuve's near home run, which was ruled an out due to fan interference on a Mookie Betts' catch attempt. During one segment, Bauer sat down with host Brian Kenny and held a discussion on pitch design.
"That was fun," Bauer said. "[I enjoyed] any of the segments where it was just kind of going back and forth and talking about baseball. The Mookie Betts-Altuve home run segment that we got to do -- kind of there on the wall, where we got to do some demonstration and whatnot -- was really fun. Obviously, the pitch design stuff, that's my realm. So, that was a good one as well." Bauer -- known for his scientific approach to pitching -- said getting to see all the work that goes into that kind of show was interesting for him.
"The behind the scenes, that's always the stuff I'm most interested in," Bauer said. "Like, sitting in the video room and watching, like, 'OK, this tape is going to be played and here's how we decide what tapes we're going to make. Here's how the tapes are made. And then here's how the commentary goes over them.' Like, being restricted to that minute-long segment or whatever and having to hit a certain couple key points, it's interesting how that plays together.
"And then just all the on-screen graphics. I've been doing that stuff for years just internally. But, to see how they do it and their process and workflows and all that stuff was very interesting. I enjoyed that part of it. And then all the work that goes into seeing four guys [talking] on stage. There's two to three times that many people in the actual room, in the studio, moving the jibs around, the lights, the cameras, the steady cams, all that different stuff. Everyone's mic'd up, talking to each other. It's pretty interesting."
Could broadcasting be in Bauer's future when his playing days are over? "There's many players they could've had on," Bauer said. "So, I'm appreciative that they thought I have some value to add in that way. Can I see myself doing it down the road? Yeah, I could see myself doing it here or there. I don't think I'd ever be on the show nightly. I think there are other things in life that I'm looking forward to doing." (J Bastin - MLB,com - Oct 19, 2018)
Nov 29, 2018: One big bit of Hot Stove hubbub surrounding the Indians this week was a tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale reporting that the Indians are "much more inclined to trade Trevor Bauer than Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco." The reason, Nightengale explained, is that Bauer -- who has two rounds of arbitration remaining before free agency -- carries less cost certainty than Carrasco and Kluber, who are already signed to locked-in extensions (Carrasco through 2020, Kluber through '21). Because the budget-conscious Indians don't know exactly how high Bauer's salary could escalate by '20, it might make sense to prioritize moving him.
Well, one baseball analyst thinks trading Bauer right now is a terrible idea: Bauer. No, it's not a sentimental situation in which Bauer is too emotionally tied to the Tribe to be rational. On the contrary: Bauer, true to form, breaks down his own trade value in a cold, calculated and unusually detached manner.
"There's a lot of reasons I think that [the Indians should not trade me]," Bauer said on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show. "Ultimately, I think the surplus value on me this year is just way too high. Even with an arbitration raise, you're probably talking about $15 to $20 million of surplus value."
What is Bauer talking about here? Surplus value is the backbone of baseball trades in our increasingly analytical era. Every team has its own proprietary means of calculating surplus value, but we can do our own quick and dirty math right here. Bauer was worth 6.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, according to the FanGraphs calculation -- even though his innings were limited to 175 1/3 by the stress fracture in his right leg after he was struck by a comebacker. Bauer made $6.525 million.
To calculate surplus value, you've got to ascribe some sort of dollar value to a "win." A reasonable estimate in the current marketplace is $9 million (even if it's too high, all that matters is that it is used as a constant for all players being analyzed to keep the playing field level). If we multiply Bauer's 6.1 WAR by 9, we guesstimate that he was worth $54.9 million to the Indians in 2018. Subtract his actual earnings from that total, and you have a calculation of what he was worth over and above what the Indians paid for him -- his surplus value.
With that in mind, here are the surplus values for the three starters in question in 2018: Bauer (6.1 WAR, $6.525M salary): $48.375M (Bauer's estimate of his own worth may have been on the shallow side) Kluber (5.9 WAR, $10.7M salary): $42.4M, Carrasco (5.3 WAR, $8M salary): $39.7M
"I think of the starters that they were talking about trading -- Kluber, Carrasco and me -- I think all of us bring a tremendous return," Bauer said. "So I think you can get a very similar package of players in return in a trade. But I think me and Carrasco have the largest surplus value going into this year."
We're not smart enough to know how any of these pitchers will perform in 2019, and Bauer's salary is not yet settled. But just for the sake of discussion, let's use MLB Trade Rumors' best guess at Bauer's salary and last year's WAR numbers for a frame of reference. This is what the 2019 surplus values would look like:
Bauer (6.1WAR, $11.6M salary): $43.3MKluber (5.9 WAR, $17M salary): $36.1MCarrasco (5.3 WAR, $9.75M salary): $37.95M
That backs up Bauer's point. Most players will see a decline in surplus value as their salaries escalate, but, as you can see, the decline could be steepest with Kluber, who gets a big raise in 2019 as a result of Cy Young Award-voting escalators that were built into his contract (his club options for '20 and '21 are worth $17.5M and $18M, respectively). And when taking a stab at the 2019 WAR estimates, keep in mind that Bauer is entering his age-28 season, has pitched 904 regular-season innings in the big leagues and nearly cut his ERA in half from 2017 to '18. So his arrow would appear to be pointed upward, while Carrasco (age 32, 1,094 1/3 innings) and Kluber (age 33, 1,306 innings) are less likely to have an uptick in performance.
Of course, if Bauer does replicate or even improve upon his 6.1 WAR from 2018 in the coming year, his price tag for 2020 -- his final arbitration season before free agency -- will be substantial. And Bauer has already made it known publicly that he intends to sign one-year contracts in free agency at max value, which means there is very little chance of him remaining with the Indians in '21.
"In 2020," said Bauer, "when my salary raises up to like the $20 million range, then the surplus value isn't nearly as much. And they're most likely not going to be able to sign me in free agency, even on one-year deals. So it would make sense to trade me and get some prospects in return."
So Bauer actually provided very good reasons why the Indians should and shouldn't trade him. They shouldn't trade Bauer because in 2019 -- on a team that still expects to be built to win -- he likely represents the most upside and the best performance-to-paycheck ratio of the three most established members of the starting staff.
They should trade Bauer because -- unlike Carrasco and Kluber -- the cost of doing business in 2020 (by which point, it must be noted, the competitive field in the AL Central could evolve substantially) is an unknown, and the current upside and projected surplus value make him arguably the best trade chip of the three. Plus, he's gone in two years, no matter what they do in the trade market.
The Indians' needle-threading situation -- trying to pare payroll while injecting a built-to-win ballclub with younger, cost-controlled players -- is fascinating, and the decision whether to actually pull the trigger on a trade involving one of these three starters will be the most pivotal one made by Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff and Co. this winter.
That one of the three is weighing in on the situation with such casual lucidity adds value -- maybe even surplus value -- to the conversation. (A Castrovince - MLB.com - Nov 29, 2018)
Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer said his much-publicized Twitter interaction "may have had a negative impact" on the college student who told USA TODAY Sports that she felt harassed by Bauer and his followers.
Bauer weighed in on the fallout from the exchange with Nikki Giles that began on Saturday via two tweets on Wednesday. Although it was more an explanation than an apology, Bauer wrote he "will wield the responsibility of my public platform more responsibly in the future."
Giles, a senior at Texas State University, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday that she "cried daily" after the exchange began Saturday night when she jokingly posted that Bauer was her "new least favorite person in all sports.”
Bauer, also in jest, responded: “Welcome to the fan club 😘”
That would begin a back-and-forth that included Bauer going deep into Giles' timeline.
"He went almost a year back into my Twitter to find a tweet about me drinking two months before my 21st birthday and exposed it to his followers," Giles said.
Giles also was targeted with offensive messages by Bauer's followers.
"I do not encourage any of my fans, followers, or friends to attack, insult or harass anyone on any social media platform, or in real life," Bauer wrote. "There is no room for that in the world." (A.J. Perez-USA Today - Jan. 9, 2019)
On most afternoons, when he was a boy in Santa Clarita, Calif., Bauer would hang a bucket of 48 baseballs from each of the handlebars of his bike and pedal to a local park. His father spent most of the week in New Mexico, running the custom door and furniture company he had opened after he quit working in oil. Warren and Kathy Bauer told their son that they would stretch to pay for his pitching lessons with Wagner and, later, the long-toss guru Alan Jaeger, only if he practiced.
So he did, throwing ball after ball against the fence of a tennis court and making sure to eventually return home with each of the 96 balls he had brought with him. He practiced alone; he didn’t have any friends. Bauer recalls kids jeering at him—you’re such a nerd—as he rode by with his buckets. (Ben Reiter-Sports Illustrated- Feb.19, 2019)
When Bauer meets a potential romantic partner, he outlines for her the parameters of any possible relationship on their very first date.
“I have three rules,” he says. “One: no feelings. As soon as I sense you’re developing feelings, I’m going to cut it off, because I’m not interested in a relationship and I’m emotionally unavailable. Two: no social media posts about me while we’re together, because private life stays private. Three: I sleep with other people. I’m going to continue to sleep with other people. If you’re not O.K. with that, we won’t sleep together, and that’s perfectly fine. We can just be perfectly polite platonic friends.” (Ben Reiter-Sports Illustrated - Feb.19, 2019)
The fourth weekend in March is the time of year when Trevor sports big, blue, fuzzy hair more often than his natural brown.
As 2019 Spring Training begins to wind down, not only is Bauer starting to prepare for the regular season, but he’s also getting ready to experience an intense level of fandom as Duke University embarks on its March Madness journey. When Bauer isn’t at the field or working on shoots for his new production company, Bauer will be alone, on his couch, flipping between as many channels as he can to monitor each game on his NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket.
“You haven’t been around, so you don’t know how mad I get when I lose in baseball,” Bauer said. “I get more mad when Duke loses. ... It’s blue hair, decked out in Duke gear, a lot of yelling at the TV, like throwing my phone at the couch and stuff like that.”
Because Bauer's father, Warren, grew up in New Mexico, he was a big Lobos fan and disliked UCLA because the Bruins used to always beat the University of New Mexico. So Warren Bauer started rooting for Duke, a team which could take down UCLA, and he taught his son to do the same. But fast forward a few years and Bauer was pitching for the Bruins and he was later selected by the D-backs in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
"He doesn't hold grudges," Bauer said with a chuckle. “Number one rule to picking brackets is Duke wins. But other than that, it’s a free for all. The one year I did not pick them to win, they won it all. Never again.” (Bell - mlb.com - 3/20/19)
One afternoon during the 2018 season, Trevor was running sprints in the outfield when his longtime Cleveland teammate Michael Brantley looked at him with a cocked eyebrow.
"Dude, you are so slow," Brantley said. "Why are you running sprints? You're not fooling anyone."
"Brant, I never claimed to be fast," Bauer said. "I'm good at two things in this world: throwing baseballs, and pissing people off."
Trevor is outraged by what he says is the widespread use among major league pitchers of foreign substances -- particularly a pine tar rosin blend called Pelican Grip Dip -- to make their fastballs spin more and consequently get hit less.
He says, "If I used that s---, I'd be the best pitcher in the big leagues. I'd be unhittable. But I have morals."
Bauer reveals that he did use Pelican for one inning in 2018, the first of his April 30 outing vs. the Rangers, as some statheads had sussed out. He threw nine 4-seam fastballs, and they averaged 2,600 revolutions per minute, about 300 RPM higher than normal. Then he stopped, and his spin rate dropped to its standard 2,300 RPM for the remainder of the game. He felt he had proved his point.
Bauer questions the science of climate change, tweeting, "the climate changed before humans and will change after. For us to think we can control it is extremely ego centric." (Ben Reiter - Sports Illustrated - 2/25/2019)
Bauer insists that when he reaches free agency he will never sign a contract longer than one year. He figures he will earn a lot more overall -- that commitment-shy teams will be happy to give him a series of one-year, $35 million deals -- and that he'll get to play for a contender every year.
When Trevor wasn’t on a baseball field as a kid growing up in Southern California, he was often alone, partaking in activities that his teammates were never interested in. Bauer was the opposite of the stereotypical jock. He enjoyed physics and competed in statewide chess tournaments. He mastered the art of origami and he studied magic tricks and sleight of hand techniques.
“I have chess trophies on my -- they’re in boxes now, but growing up, they were all over my shelves, mixed in with my baseball trophies,” Bauer said. “I did origami. Like I still have a big shoebox with all the different origami models that I did. I developed my own -- like there weren’t any books or anything like that.”
When Trevor looks back at his childhood, it’s clear he’s still passionate about the hobbies he’s had, but the isolation that came along with them has not been forgotten. “Growing up for me, it was kind of tough because I liked things that traditional athletes don’t really like, like physics and chess, and I didn’t really do the social thing,” Bauer said. “But there weren’t a whole lot of programs for me to go and be a part of, so I didn’t really develop a peer group within those activities. My peer group was mostly nonexistent, but the friends I did have were kind of through baseball.”
Now, Bauer is trying to change that. “I was doing all these things on my own and there were plenty of other kids out there that liked doing it, but it’s just hard to -- like you don’t know,” Bauer said. “You see a kid at school, you don’t know what he does after school or whatever.”
To help be part of the solution, Bauer announced the start of a 23-week long campaign last week that will raise money and awareness for organizations that support after school activities for kids to encourage them to pursue their passions and dreams. Each week, three charities will receive $10 for each strikeout he records in his starts.
“I think my dad came up with [the strikeout idea] actually,” Bauer said. “Because we were sitting down talking one night about just how to bring [the giving campaign] back and what we were going to do to like keep it fresh and make it interesting. I love my strikeouts, so we just kind of settled on that.”
“I want to make it easier for kids to do what they want to do,” Bauer said. “I want to encourage them to do what they love and then also have them be able to establish friend groups that way. So, organizations like chess clubs or Girl Who Code or after-school soccer programs, or something like that, that try to help kids like come out and do the things they enjoy and get kids together, and make it easier to develop self-confidence and friendships and feel better about themselves.” (Bell - mlb.com - 4/8/19)
At some point during the upcoming three-game series against Cleveland at Progressive Field, Mariners rookie Yusei Kikuchi hopes to have another conversation with Indians star pitcher Trevor Bauer. The two pitchers from vastly different backgrounds first met at Kikuchi’s request the morning of Tuesday, April 16, near the backstop at T-Mobile Park. Less than 24 hours earlier, they started against each other in the opener of that three-game series. Bauer was credited with the win in Cleveland’s 6-4 victory, looking dominant over 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. Kikuchi was solid, pitching six innings while allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Following the game, Kikuchi sent word to the Cleveland clubhouse that he hoped he could meet Bauer and ask him some questions.
“Ever since I was in Japan I wanted to meet him,” Kikuchi said through interpreter Justin Novak. “I’ve wanted to pick his brain. I’ve been told he’s really technical about baseball.”
Kikuchi is fascinated by the modern evolution of pitching with technology like TrackMan and Rapsodo as well as he concept of pitch tunneling. Perhaps no pitcher in Major League Baseball represents the modern and advanced thinking about improvement than Bauer, who has become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball But when Kikuchi watched Bauer work in person, the desire to talk to him about baseball only grew. It was more than just the technical aspect. It was everything now.
“In that game, I was watching how he really attacks guys and is really aggressive,” Kikuchi said. “And that’s what I wanted to take from him. Once I met him, he has such a baseball mind. He just studies and researches about baseball so much. I gained even more respect for him.”
Bauer was eager to meet Kikuchi for his own reasons. He has a naturally curious mind and has been fascinated by the transition of Japanese pitchers to MLB.
“I’m a big fan of Japanese players that come over,” Bauer said. “It’s got to be really tough, culturally and just life-wise as a human being. Seeing him adjust to that and adjust to playing in the big leagues with all the expectations heaped on him from the get-go, it’s something that interests me. I take an interest in the guys that come over and do that. I was really excited to be able to connect with him. Even if nothing I said makes a difference, it was just nice to make the connection and express to him that I’m rooting for him.”
Oh, it made a difference. The conversation wasn’t brief. The two men, aided by Novak, had a wide-ranging discussion. Both held baseballs so they could show, study and possibly imitate the grips each used on pitches. There were simulations of arm slots and release points. Bauer got particularly detailed in showing the finger pressure he used on his changeup – a pitch that Kikuchi wants to improve upon.
“It was the day after a start so I really appreciate that he took the time out to talk to me,” Kikuchi said. “Even though we are the same age, he’s someone I really respect so I was really happy for the encounter.”
Bauer easily recognized Kikuchi’s same intellectual curiosity and passion about improving as a pitcher.
“I enjoy talking to people who are interested in trying to get better,” Bauer said. “I’m really passionate about player development and finding ways to use technology and data to maximize what I can do physically. So when I get a chance to talk to someone of the same mindset just about development in general, whether it’s athletic or intellectual or personal, I like listening, understanding and connecting with those kinds of people. I definitely get the sense he is that way.” Any concerns about Bauer not wanting to take part in the conversation were assuaged immediately.
“He was very polite and very nice to me when he was talking to me about baseball,” Kikuchi said. “He’s a superstar so I was kind of nervous about going into the conversation. But he made me feel really welcome. And he was really easy to talk to.”
To be fair, Bauer loves to talk about that subject. Admittedly, those conversations are usually with teammates and not requests from opponents. “I think it’s just a baseball thing,” Bauer said. “Teammates get a chance to do it because we stand in the outfield and shag BP or we are in the clubhouse – ‘Hey what do you think about this?’ But for guys on the other team to come up to you, you don’t get that opportunity as much.”
Bauer doesn’t buy into the concept of not sharing his secrets to success with people outside of his team. It isn’t proprietary information or thinking. There’s a fraternity among baseball players, specifically pitchers, that is bigger than opponent rivalry.
“I just think that everybody gets to this level wants to play against the best guys and compete against the best,” he said. “There’s a healthy respect for what everybody at this level is able to do. So if I can make the game better and the players around me better, regardless if they are on my team or on the other team, that’s good for the game, fans enjoy it more and I get to compete against better players so I enjoy it more and that person’s career is better, which gives them a chance to live a better life. It’s just good for everyone involved, you know?
“That’s just the way I view it. I know some guys try to have competitive advantage. But I’m just really passionate about trying to make the people around me better in whatever aspect they want to get better at. I’m just sharing information with whoever asks.” (Ryan Divish-Seattle Times-May 2, 2019)
June 16, 2019: High school summers for Trevor Bauer meant making a 21-hour trek from the Los Angeles area to Houston, where he’d spend his break training for baseball. But he’d never have to do it alone. His father, Warren, always rode with him in their black Mazda truck that they referred to as the “Buster Buggy.”
Over 1,500 miles later, they'd arrive in Texas, where Bauer spent each weekday putting in hours of work on the mound. But the weekends remained free. His father would try to come up with ideas of things the two could do together in their down time, including one night where they decided to see a play.
They knew the Playhouse District was downtown, but couldn’t find the exact location for the Agatha Christie production they wanted to watch. Warren called the theater asking for directions. The scramble to get to the right place has forever remained one of Bauer’s favorite memories.
“So he’s trying to hold the phone to his ear and drive and scribble notes as he’s driving. And so he writes down the cross streets, Texas Street and Prairie Street, and gets off the phone and everything’s fine,” Bauer said. “We get downtown and he’s like, ‘Can you read me [the directions.] I don’t remember. I’m trying to figure out where I’m at.’ And I look at the paper and it says, ‘Teaxas and Pararie’ -- and I just rip on him all the time for it since then.
“That’s like a perfect microcosm of what my dad is. He’s constantly coming up with ideas, multi-tasking, doing a bunch of stuff at one time, more so worried about the outcome than the details. I just always rip on him all the time for ‘Teaxas and Pararie.’” (M Bell - MLB.com - June 16, 2019)
July 28, 2019: Two starts ago, Trevor Bauer walked off the mound saying he felt angrier than he had been in the past two months. But that frustration paled in comparison to the fury that he demonstrated in Sunday’s series finale against the Royals.
The Indians entered the bottom of the fifth inning of Sunday’s 9-6 loss to Kansas City with a two-run lead, but after giving up four runs, Bauer asked for a new ball from home plate umpire David Rackley before firing the used ball in his glove into the netting near the Royals’ dugout. Then, he saw his manager walking out of the dugout.
When Indians manager Terry Francona took his first step onto the field, Bauer turned to the outfield and launched the ball he had just received over the fence in center field a solid 375 feet from the pitcher’s mound. The outburst caused Francona to sternly point to the dugout, indicating for Bauer to get off the mound at Kauffman Stadium.
When the Tribe’s skipper reached the rubber, Bauer put his hand on Francona’s shoulder and tapped his chest as if saying, “My bad,” showing his reaction was about his performance rather than being directed toward Francona.Bauer had been visibly frustrated through the first few innings of Sunday’s contest, but the anger boiled over in the fifth after he gave up a single and a double before walking the bases loaded. He then attempted to throw out a runner at home by flipping a slow dribbler to catcher Roberto Perez with his glove, but he was unable to make the play. A single by Cheslor Cuthbert tied the game before Nicky Lopez drove in two more runs that sparked Bauer’s eruption.
In 1991, Cincinnati reliever Rob Dibble launched a ball into the center-field stands, which resulted in a four-game suspension and a fine.With the Trade Deadline approaching on Wednesday, Bauer’s name has been tied to plenty of rumors, but his actions may not have helped attract other clubs. The Tribe’s righty had been hot over his last nine starts, going 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA. But he finished his afternoon with eight runs charged to his name – seven earned – on nine hits with four walks and six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. (Mandy Bell -MLB.com.)
July 30, 2019: Bauer was been fined by Major League Baseball for heaving a ball from the pitcher’s mound over the center-field wall at Kansas City.
“One of the things I’m most proud about is that I haven’t missed a start in the 2019 seasion, through July 2019,” Bauer said, “through two months of probably needing to be on the [injured list] and probably should have missed the starts.”
Bauer said he played through partially torn ligaments in his ankle since his fourth outing of the year. Because he began compensating for the pain, he started having back spasms. Bauer said there were only seven or eight starts where he felt that he was at his best this year, which resulted in a frustrating season.
“Everyone has little things that they deal with throughout the season,” Bauer said. “They get through it the best they can. I didn’t want to make any excuses. It’s not an excuse. It’s just something that people go through.”
The frustration was apparent on July 28, 2019, in his final start in an Indians uniform, when his last “pitch” was a 380-foot heave over the center-field wall from the pitcher’s mound out of anger from a rough outing. While Indians manager Terry Francona said that he doesn’t want that to be the hurler’s legacy in Cleveland, Bauer said he’s leaving his legacy to be defined by the fans.
“I think at the end of the day, I am myself to a fault,” Bauer said. “There are good parts and bad parts and middle parts about everybody. And what I would like to be known as is just someone who is true to himself and passionate about the game. Tried to help as many people as I could in my time here [in Cleveland]. Tried to move things forward and make people's lives around me better, make the game better. Am I perfect? No, far from it. That's the same case for everybody.
“I just, I don't know. It'll be different for everybody, even two people who feel similarly about me will have different lasting memories and favorite times. But I don't know. I don't know how to answer any better than that.” (Bell - mlb.com - 7/31/19)
Aug 1, 2019: Trevor Bauer sees Cincinnati as a second chance, one he is eager to take advantage of.
“I’m excited to be here, meeting everybody new,” said Bauer, acquired from Cleveland in a three-team deal that also included San Diego. “I have a couple of friends in the clubhouse that I’ve known for a long time, that I just have been united with. I’m excited to get going.”
Ironically, this three-team trade, which saw the Reds part with outfielder Yasiel Puig and highly touted outfield prospect Taylor Trammell, and his acquisition actually is a mulligan, of sorts for the Reds.
“It’s my second time being in a three-team trade with the Reds,” Bauer pointed out, with a laugh from in front of his corner locker in the visitors’ clubhouse at SunTrust Park, prior to the opener of a four-game series with the National League East-leading Braves.
Bauer was traded on December 11, 2012, by Arizona to Cleveland a month shy of his 22nd birthday. The deal also involved the Reds, who parted with outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop Didi Gregorius and netted outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, infielder Jason Donald and cash.
The acquisition is also a second chance of sorts for Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, who was Vanderbilt pitching coach when Bauer came out of high school and eagerly sought to go to Vandy, but head coach Tim Corbin called and offered a scholarship the day after Bauer had committed to UCLA.
Bauer has grown since that 2012 trade, going 67-53 with a 3.89 ERA in six-plus seasons in Cleveland, winning 17 games in 2017 and earning an All-Star berth in ‘18.
“It’s definitely a fresh start,” Bauer said. “I don’t like putting my past behind me. I like trying to learn from my past and be a better person, a better player, a better teammate, a better everything. It will be nice to meet new guys and start fresh, learn a new culture and contribute in any way I can, try to help out as many people as I can.”
Reds manager David Bell would be one of those people.
“He’s going to have a big impact on the rotation and our team,” said Bell. “His performances speak for themselves. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. So, any time you can add that to what we already believe is a really strong pitching staff, it’s exciting. It’s exciting for us. I hope it’s exciting to everyone that’s a Reds fan. We have a good thing going. We’re not where we need to be, but we’re getting closer every day and Trevor’s just going to add to that.” (J Cooper - MLB.com - Aug 1, 2019)
2020 Spring Training: So here's one way to prevent sign stealing: Just tell the batter what's coming.
That's what Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer did at points during his Cactus League outing against the Dodgers at Goodyear Ballpark. Bauer used the traditional glove sign for whatever pitch he was about to throw to Dodgers hitter Matt Beaty in the 4th inning, just as if he was signaling to his catcher what was coming while warming up between innings.
It all worked out just fine, too -- Beaty flew out to center field, and Bauer ended up tossing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, giving up two hits and striking out two. He struck out Enrique Hernández swinging and A.J. Pollock looking in the sixth.
After noticing Bauer using the glove signs, Reds television reporter Jim Day inquired about it with a friend of Bauer's in the dugout, Derek Dietrich.
"If you've followed baseball this offseason, there's a little thing going on with sign stealing," Dietrich said, referring to MLB's investigation into sign-stealing allegations against the Astros and Red Sox. "Trevor's not too fond of it, so he figured he's gonna try something new this season, and he's gonna start telling batters what's coming -- just, here it comes, try to hit it."
While it worked from the fourth through sixth innings Monday, it might not be advisable to do it all the time.
"Trevor's always gonna do something crazy," Dietrich said. "We enjoy him." (Manny Randhawa - March 2, 2020)
Amid spring training being cancelled:
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer says he is organizing a “sandlot” baseball game.
He also is trying to raise $1 million for Major League Baseball game-day staff who could be affected by the league's decision to delay the regular season at least two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Bauer publicized the idea of a pickup game on Friday on social media and several other players said they were interested. (AP - Mar. 14, 2020)
April, 2020: Of the 623 hitters Trevor Bauer has faced in his eight-year Major League career, only one has taken him deep five times.
Not only does Twins right fielder Max Kepler stand alone on that list, but he dealt all that damage in two games at Progressive Field on June 6 and July 13 last season. In doing so, Kepler became the only player in the expansion era to hit homers off a single pitcher in five consecutive at-bats during a single season.
Kepler's trio of homers off Bauer helped him join Ted Williams as the only hitters in Major League history to have multiple three-homer games against Cleveland. What's more: He did it against three different pitches -- a changeup, curveball and fastball.
Everything went out the window for Bauer after that. He attacked Kepler with a steady stream of cutters and finally got Kepler to swing through a changeup in the fourth inning for a strikeout to snap the inglorious streak.
"The last time I've seen pitch sequencing like this from Trevor was when he would face Victor Martinez, who he is/was deathly afraid of," wrote Driveline Baseball founder Kyle Boddy, a friend of Bauer, in a tweet. "Kepler may be the new face of obscure pitch sequencing for him. Should be fun to watch."
Now that the notoriously competitive Bauer is no longer on the receiving end of that kind of onslaught, he's found some appreciation of his place in history.
"One of the crazier events that I've ever been involved in on a big league field," Bauer said. "One of the crazier events, I think, that has ever happened in MLB history. ... Any time you can be part of one of those crazy stats, which, in 100 years of baseball, has not happened much, is kind of a cool thing, looking back on it." (Do-Hyoung Park - Apr. 2, 2020)
When Bauer logged the final out of a 7-inning complete game, 5-0 win at Kansas City, he immediately pulled off his jersey to reveal a custom white T-shirt underneath that referenced a moment from the las time he pitched at Kauffman Stadium.
In his final start for Cleveland before his July 31, 2019 trade to Cincinnati, an angry Bauer fired a baseball toward the center field fountains upon being pulled from the game.
"I get a lot of people online that have quips and all this stuff about 'go throw another temper tantrum' or whatever the case is," Trevor said. "I thought it'd be an appropriate little ode to that moment. If you can't laugh at yourself and make fun of yourself a little bit, life is going to get pretty long and tough." (Mark Schmetzer - Reds Report - Sept., 2020)
February 2021: After signing with the Dodgers, Bauer sent a message on Twitter to Mets fans.
Bauer apologized for the merchandise glitch on his website that led people to believe he was signing with the Mets shortly before he agreed to a deal with the Dodgers.
"Mets fans, I owe you an explanation and apology," Bauer posted. "My intention was never to mislead your fan base, nor was it to troll you in any way."
A link for Mets merchandise went live on Bauer's Linktree page on Instagram, and a page for a Bauer-signed Mets hat giveaway went live on his website, TrevorBauer.com. Fans who signed up for the cap giveaway received an email saying "I can't wait to take the mound in New York!"
The links and screenshots of the Bauer Mets cap and giveaway email spread quickly on social media, with speculation swirling that the reigning NL Cy Young winner and top free-agent starting pitcher was on the verge of signing with New York. Instead, Bauer announced just hours later that he was joining the Dodgers. Bauer attempted to clear the air in the Twitter thread, explaining that the merchandise pages and links were prepared for multiple teams in advance and that none were supposed to go live until Bauer had announced his decision.
"It was an embarrassing and emotional moment for me," Bauer said in the thread. Bauer announced that fans who entered the signed Mets cap giveaway will instead be entered into a raffle for tickets for a future Dodgers-Mets game. He said he'll also be donating $10,000 each to several New York nonprofits—Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, STEM Kids NYC, Get Schooled and the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens.
"I look forward to my next visit to Citi Field and hope to hear you just as loud in person, even if it’s not in cheers for me," Bauer said. (D Adler - MLB.com - Feb 8, 2021)
2021 Spring Training: What’s that piece of advice Little League coaches always tell their kids—keep your eye on the ball, right?
Trevor Bauer provided a new twist on that idea.
Eager to challenge himself in a spring training start, the new Dodgers ace kept his right eye closed while pitching out of a first-inning jam.
He even pointed to the eye as he walked off the mound.
“I like making myself uncomfortable and throwing different stuff my way and trying to find a solution for it,” the NL Cy Young Award winner told Los Angeles media.
“I think that’s how you improve. Find a way to make yourself uncomfortable and get comfortable with it and then do it again,” he said. (AP - March 6, 2021)
After the Dodgers lost to the Athletics, the umpires kept several suspicious baseballs pitched by Trevor Bauer for MLB inspecting that were “brought to the umpire’s attention.” The baseballs allegedly had some sort of visual sign of a foreign substance as well as stickiness on them. MLB has recently announced that they will be cracking down on pitchers who use foreign substances in games this year. They will inspect out-of-play baseballs as well as install monitors that will watch the clubhouses, dugouts, and bullpens.
It is no surprise that Bauer is under scrutiny. Bauer has publicly complained and called out players and teams about using foreign substances to improve grip, and hence, spin rate. He even went as far as to cite the fact that pine tar could increase the spin rate on his fastball by 400 RPM. Sure enough, the spin rate on his fastball increased by right around 400 RPM in 2020. Consequently, it’s not surprising that the microscope is out and Bauer finds himself under it.
There is an old saying that “It is not what you know, but what you can prove.” This saying applies very well here. Regardless of whether the league finds a foreign substance or not, they have to prove that it was Bauer that applied it. That will be a tall order since MLB has monitors watching the dugouts and clubhouses—none of whom saw anything suspicious. Furthermore, the umpires did not see anything suspicious—these baseballs were “brought to their attention.” By who, and at what point during or after the game is unclear. (Michael Gray | April 9, 2021)
June 30, 2021: The 2020 Cy Young-winning pitcher Trevor Bauer, is facing allegations of assault by a woman stemming from a sexual encounter in May, 2021.
ESPN is reporting that the Pasadena (California) Police Department said it is investigating the alleged assault, which it says occurred around the middle of May. The case was turned over to the district attorney’s office as soon as today.
The woman was granted a domestic violence restraining order in L.A. County Superior Court against Bauer, according to her attorney, Marc Garelick, who alleged in a statement that his client “suffered severe physical and emotional pain” as a result of a “recent assault” from Bauer.
Bauer’s agent, Jon Fetterolf, released a lengthy statement to ESPN denying any wrongdoing on behalf of his client. In the statement, Fetterolf described the relationship as “consensual” and called the woman’s allegations “baseless” and “defamatory.” (Hal Roth - Fast Phillies Sports)
The Athletic published the details of the temporary ex parte restraining order the woman filed against Bauer on June 29. She says that consensual rough sex on one occasion devolved into unconsensual choking and anal rape, and then on another into assault that sent her to the hospital with “significant head and facial trauma” and signs of a basilar skull fracture.
Bauer's agent, Jon Fetterolf, provided a statement that read, in part, “Mr. Bauer had a brief and wholly consensual sexual relationship initiated by [the woman] beginning in April 2021. We have messages that show [her] repeatedly asking for ‘rough’ sexual encounters involving requests to be ‘choked out’ and slapped in the face. … Her basis for filing a protection order is nonexistent, fraudulent, and deliberately omits key facts, information, and her own relevant communications. Any allegations that the pair’s encounters were not 100% consensual are baseless, defamatory, and will be refuted to the fullest extent of the law.” (Stephanie Apstein - SI - 7/02/2021)
July 2, 2021: Bauer was on the restricted list.
The woman said that Bauer assaulted her on two different occasions. Together, the woman said those two incidents included Bauer punching her in the face, vagina, and buttocks, sticking his fingers down her throat, and strangling her to the point where she lost consciousness multiple times.
She said it began as consensual sexual encounters between the two. She said that her medical notes state that she had “significant head and facial trauma” and that there were signs of basilar skull fracture.
June 2011: The Diamondbacks chose Bauer in the first round, out of UCLA. He was the third player chosen, behind only Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners). And Bauer signed for a bonus of $3.4 million.
D'backs area scout Hal Kurtzman had been scouting Bauer since he was 12 years old.
December 11, 2012: The Indians traded Choo to the Reds, acquiring Bauer from the D-Backs in a three-team trade. OF Drew Stubbs went from Cincinnati to Cleveland. The Tribe also received RHP Matt Albers and RHP Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks.
Cleveland shipped Choo, INF Jason Donald, and about $3.5 million to the Reds, while sending LHP reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to Arizona. The D-Backs also received SS Didi Gregorius from Cincinnati.
The reason for the trade: Bauer stubbornly adhered to his own routine in the Majors, including long-tossing from one outfield pole to another before games (no matter the weather). He struggled to get on the same page with veteran catchers such as Miguel Montero, kept his headphones on while throwing bullpens (to the chagrin of pitching coaches), and resisted clubhouse advice from veterans.
January 13, 2017: Bauer and the avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 contract.
Feb 13, 2019: Bauer won his arbitration case and will earn $13 million for the 2019 season. Bauer had filed for $13 million, and the Indians had reportedly offered $11 million.
July 30, 2019: In a three-team deal, the Indians traded Trevor Bauer to the Reds. The Indians receive Yasiel Puig and Scott Moss from the Reds; and Franmil Reyes, Logan Allen and Victor Nova from the Padres. The Padres receive Taylor Trammell from the Reds.
Jan 10, 2020: The Reds and Bauer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $17.5 million deal,
Oct 28, 2020: Bauer elected free agency. He rejected the Reds' qualifying offer of $18.9 million.
Feb 5, 2021: Bauer signed with the Dodgers. According to MLB.com sources, it’s a three-year, $102 million contract. It includes opt-outs after each of his first two years, and he will be paid $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022. He’ll become the highest-paid player in Major League history in 2021 and again in 2022.
The Reds will be compensated with an additional first-round pick in 2021 for losing Bauer after he declined their qualifying offer.
The deal pushes the Dodgers’ payroll close to $240 million, blowing past the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold, meaning Los Angeles would have to pay a 20% tax on all overages. For the next $20 million over $230 million, the Dodgers would be taxed 32%.