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MLB: Trevor Bauer’s Maturation Has Cleveland Hoping For Greatness

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Trevor Bauer has finally evolved into the pitcher many scouts envisioned him to be. He is one of four Cleveland Indians to record 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break, and it’s a good bet he reaches the 160-strikeout mark by season’s end.

Bauer is one of baseball’s best up and comers, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride to prominence. Coming into the 2011 MLB Draft, Bauer was considered one of the top pitchers in his class. After seeing his UCLA teammate, Gerrit Cole, go first overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bauer was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the third selection.

It didn’t take Bauer long before he got his first major league call-up. He made his debut with Arizona on June 28th, almost one year to the day that he was drafted. But, he wasn’t as successful in Arizona as many had hoped, as he posted a 6.60 ERA and a 1-2 record.

The relationship between Bauer and the Diamondbacks was rocky at best. There were reports that Bauer would continuously shake off his catcher, big red flag for a pitcher just getting his feet wet in the big leagues. The Arizona organization also became weary of Bauer’s unorthodox pre-game warm-up routine.

As a result, Arizona traded Bauer to the Cleveland Indians before the 2013 season. It took some time for Bauer to mature into a major league pitcher. The Indians weren’t going to rush him into action until he was in prime condition for the big leagues. He got an opportunity during the 2013 season, but only posted a 1-2 record with a 5.29 ERA.

Building on his 2013 campaign, Bauer was finally given a full time starters role in 2014, and left the Cleveland front office, coaching staff, and fans with a positive impression. He went 5-8 and lowered his ERA to 4.18. The UCLA product had earned himself a spot in Cleveland’s 2015 rotation, one that included AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. This season has been the best of Bauer’s young career.

The 24-year-old has maintained an 8-5 record and has seen his ERA drop to 3.78. Despite this seasons success, many are still skeptical of Bauer. He isn’t known as a great ground ball pitcher, and is prone to giving up homeruns. To combat his habits on the mound, Bauer worked with Indians pitching coaches during the offseason on refining his throwing motion.

As a result, his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) has dropped to from .312 in 2014 to .263 in 2015,  signifying  that Bauer is indeed getting more ground ball outs than previous seasons. Baseball aside, Trevor Bauer is one of the game’s greatest characters.

Upon his trade to Cleveland, he penned an original rap titled, From the Gutter to the Grail. The track was an anthem for the Cleveland Indians team, and showcases Bauer’s rapping ability. The hook of the song serves as a rallying cry for the Indians and the city.

“From the gutter to the grail, we rise up to win it/Wahoos on first with our eyes on the pennant.”

You can’t deny Bauer is a talented pitcher—and rapper—as the improvements to his game might not be noticed by the average baseball fan. However, he has made significant changes from previous years. The Indians have plenty of promising pitchers on their young staff, and when all is said and done, Bauer might end up being the best of the bunch.

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