Fantasy Baseball: Trevor Bauer Expected to be Called Up, Ready to Make Good on Top Prospect Label

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Trevor Bauer

Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Bauer has been hyped as the next big thing for years. He was drafted as the third-overall pick in 2011 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The very next year, he was rated the ninth top prospect in the country by both Baseball America and MLB.com.

The following year the hype around Bauer’s arm earned him a place in the blockbuster trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the DBacks, and Drew Stubbs to the Indians.

While hype has not eluded the 23-year-old California native, his limited Major League production has not been fitting of a top 10 anything. In his first Major League action in June of 2012, Bauer started four games, making it past the fourth inning just once while posting a 6.06 ERA and walking 13 batters over 16 innings.

In 2013, this time as an Indian, Bauer made four spot starts throughout the season, walking sixteen batters over 17 innings while posting a 5.29 ERA.

Walks have always doomed Bauer’s outings, even in the minors where he’s enjoyed a decent amount of success. In 2012, Bauer made 22 starts across Double-A and Triple-A, posting a strong 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts over 130 innings but also walking 4.2 batters per nine innings.

In 2013, Bauer made 22 starts in Triple-A where he posted a 4.15 ERA, largely due to his inflated 5.4 walk per nine rate.

Bauer has looked like a different pitcher out of the gate this year, however, and may have simply needed more than the 20-someodd games of minor league preparation before his call to the Majors. While some pitchers are overdeveloped for years on the farm, Bauer was rushed up to the Bigs the season after he was drafted.

Through four Triple-A starts this season, Bauer is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a cool 9.8 strikeouts per nine compared to just 2.5 walks per nine. He was called upon to start a double-header game earlier this month and pitched great (albeit against the San Diego Padres), allowing just one earned run on four hits and two walks over six innings while striking out eight batters.

Now, with Carlos Carrasco sent to the bullpen after posting a horrid 6.95 ERA and 1.50 WHIP through four starts, Bauer has a chance not just to show what he can do with a couple of years of development under his belt, but also has a chance to stick with the Big League club and develop against Major League hitters.

Bauer is expected to replace Carrasco in the rotation and, given his 9.9 strikeout per nine rate in 303 minor league innings, could provide a strong boost to your fantasy rotation. The walks could be a bit of a hiccup but what he lacks in control he makes up by being stingy and not giving up a lot of hits or home runs. Therefore, barring any major blowups, even if his walk rate is still high, it shouldn’t destroy what could be a strong ERA and solid WHIP. More so, he is still a 23-year-old kid that needs to face real Big League hitting before he can finally become the next big thing he was hyped as since 2011.

If Bauer is available in your league, there are worse investments one can make than a guy hailed as a “can’t-miss prospect.”

Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and Manwall.com.