The Arizona Diamondbacks did not know exactly what they were getting when they selected Trevor Bauer with the third overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
From an intricate shoulder tube routine to a pole-to-pole long toss, Bauer is unconventional to say the least.
"I feel like I prepare myself in a certain way that lends itself to being able to come back on short rest," said Bauer. "My arm never hurts. I feel good, strong, healthy."
But this quote is from October of 2016, the magical month that has landed the Tribe in the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Similar to his pre-game routine and pitching beliefs, Bauer's rise to fame was also unique in itself.
December 11, 2012.
The day Bauer, Bryan Shaw, and Matt Albers were traded to the Indians in exchange for Shin-Soo Choo, Lars Anderson, Tony Sipp, and other players from different teams as part of a three-team deal. The trade came just over a year after Bauer was drafted and was made in light of Miguel Montero's comments that Bauer had a "listening problem," and was not worth the trouble according to Kirk Gibson, the former manager of the club. Bauer had walked 13 batters in his 16.1 frames of work with Arizona (6.06 ERA).
A new organization, a new chapter in the book of Bauer.
Four years with Cleveland has added up to 88 regular season starts, 29 victories, a 4.37 cumulative earned run average, and 492 strikeouts in 536 innings pitched. Primarily serving as a bottom-of-the-rotation starter, Bauer has recently been called upon to anchor the staff alongside Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin with injuries to Carlos Carrasco (right hand fracture) and Danny Salazar (right forearm strain).
"I like pitching. So the more I can pitch the better," Bauer said. "Frankly, I'd like to pitch every game, if possible, just because I like to compete. I like to be out there more and I feel like I can do it."
While the opportunity to pitch every game is doubtful to happen, the 25-year-old could be called upon to pitch more frequently on short rest. He was originally scheduled to pitch Game 4 of the ALDS on three days rest, but a postponement and series sweep wiped that chance away.
"I think I would like pitching on short rest, maybe at some point I'll get to do that," said Bauer.
Watching Bauer is quite the spectacle. At Progressive Field this past Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS, Bauer fired a high-arcing baseball from the Tribe bullpen to the left field foul line, a distance of nearly 200 feet. Prior to even starting the long toss program, he utilized a shoulder tube and underwent a series of stretching exercises that are designed to strengthen and prepare his shoulder for throwing.
"I think it's the same as any start that you get ready for," Bauer said. "You do your same preparation, same work, do the same routine, so I'm ready to go."
Not only has Bauer yet to serve a stint on the disabled list over the course of his MLB career, but his durability and rubber arm make him one of the few Indians starting pitchers remaining amongst a short-handed staff.
The California native will look to make an impact in Cleveland's upcoming series with the Blue Jays in a battle for a spot in the World Series. The Indians have not won a World Series title since 1948, the second longest championship drought in all of baseball. The front-running Chicago Cubs hold the dubious honor of having the longest streak without a title (1908 World Series Champions, 108 years).
All the ALCS action is set to kickoff on Friday at 8 PM ET in front of a sold out crowd at Progressive Field.
RHP Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48) is slated to pitch for Toronto opposite a pitcher that has yet to be determined for the Tribe (likely Kluber or Bauer).
TBS will have the television coverage throughout the series.null