If you’ve followed me for the past couple years, you know I’ve had trouble seeing eye-to-eye with Trevor Bauer, the…we’ll say “quirky” starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.
I’ve called him out for his, at times, over the top Twitter habits. Or for the frustratingly inconsistent performances he’s strung together on the mound. Or for his inability to accept blame in bad outings.
While a strong second half to the 2017 season had me feeling apologetic, I still had my doubts about whether he could ever become a consistently reliable piece of the Indians rotation. I certainly didn’t think any All-Star appearances were in his future.
Flash forward to last night, where Bauer finished another strong outing by claiming not only that he should be an All-Star this year, but also adding on that it’d be wrong if he wasn’t.
And I agree with him 100%. Not only does Bauer deserve All-Star recognition this year, he’d also be right to call out the league should he get snubbed.
This is weird for me to admit. Typically I find myself scoffing when hearing the brash statements Bauer tends to make in post-game pressers. To do so after his latest comment would be to ignore how impressive he’s been this season.
Just look at his numbers now compared to 2017, which stood out as one of his best seasons in the majors. He ended last year with a career-best 4.19 ERA. This year he’s heading towards the All-Star break boasting an ERA of 2.45.
Bauer finished 2017 with 196 strikeouts, by far the most he’s thrown in a single season. With 156 already notched this year, the question isn’t whether he’ll top last year’s mark, but by how much.
While his walk-rate isn’t making any significant drops, his WHIP has never been lower (1.09). He’s also posting the highest WAR of his career (3.6).
As you can see, if you’re trying to argue against Bauer’s claim that he belongs in the All-Star Game, you’ve got your work cut out for you from a statistical standpoint.
What seals the deal for me, though, is the fact we’ve only come across “Bad Bauer” once this year.
If you’ve followed him during his time with Cleveland, you know exactly what this is referring to. When Bauer has a rough outing, it’s usually not subtle. He either gives up enough hits to start a parade on the base-paths, or hands out walks as if he’s starting a charity.
A textbook example of “Bad Bauer” was put on display last year during an astoundingly brutal start against the Oakland A’s. He threw 43 pitches, gave up three hits, three walks and allowed four earned runs. Even more impressive was the fact he did all of this in just two-thirds of an inning.
This year, outside of a particularly tough outing against the Kansas City Royals back in May, “Bad Bauer” has been absent for the bulk of this season. The most earned runs he’s allowed in a start is four, which has only happened twice in 18 appearances. While a typical season for Bauer is bouncing back and forth between dominant performances and on-mound implosions, this year he’s been astoundingly consistent.
As you can see, not only is Bauer correct in his belief he’s earned an All-Star nod, his claim that an omission would be a mistake on the MLB’s part is also spot on.
He currently leads the majors in innings pitched, has the tenth best ERA in the bigs and has thrown more strikeouts than all but four pitchers. If that’s not the resume of an All-Star, the league needs to seriously consider adjusting its requirements.
Trust me, I’m incredibly surprised to be championing Bauer’s performance just one year after questioning whether or not he should remain in the Indians rotation. However, if the All-Star Game does come along and Bauer somehow isn’t on the roster, he’ll have every right to be upset about it.