As obsessed as I am with baseball, I don’t have the time, interest or wherewithal to keep on top of amateur players outside of what I read on Yankee blogs; as such, Trevor Bauer was a name I admittedly wasn’t familiar with prior to last week.
I only came across Bauer because I am apparently a sadist, wanting to take a look at what Gerrit Cole — who many seem to be think will be taken with one of the top two picks this June — had done at UCLA after spurning the Yankees in 2008.
While I was admiring Cole’s statline, I noticed Bauer’s right next to it, and the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that Bauer not only struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings last season, but that said K rate was a tick better than Cole’s. In fact, Bauer’s 165 strikeouts were tops in the country in 2010. While everything I’ve read about Cole has more or less said he’s one of the most exciting amateur pitchers in the country, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Bauer might, by some ridiculously good fortune, slip all the way down to the Yankees in the second round at the 51st overall pick. I even asked about this on Twitter; however, both Mike and Joe from RAB said it’d be pretty unlikely.
Bauer helped pitch UCLA to the 2010 College Baseball World Series championship round, striking out 11 and 13, respectively, in his two starts leading up to the final best-of-three against South Carolina.
Bauer’s already started out his 2011 campaign on fire, earning National Player of the Week honors on March 7. According to the aforelinked article, through his first three starts this season Bauer has recorded a team-best 33 strikeouts and 11 walks in a team-leading 24.1 innings, limiting the opposition to a .171 batting average.
Here are Bauer’s and Cole’s stat lines from each player’s first two seasons at UCLA:
I’ve asterisked the FIPs because I self-calculated them and didn’t have access to any IBB numbers (though it’s probably safe to assume that neither of these pitchers are intentionally walking anyone), and while they’re probably pretty close to accurate, shouldn’t be taken as 100% gospel.
In any event, these stat lines are eerily close to each other. Bauer appears to have better control, while Cole has more overpowering stuff, as evidenced by his insane 11.1 K/9 and .199 BAA. Bauer also appears to have benefited from a bit of luck, given his superior ERAs. Still, it would be difficult to quibble if your team were able to draft either one of these pitchers.
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