Saturday, August 13, 2011
A pitcher breaking the moldPosted by Kyle Boddy
Trevor Bauer, the third pick overall in the 2011 draft, will not be babied. Bauer, well-known for his Tim Lincecum-like pitching mechanics and his unorthodox workout regimen, has scared some major league teams due to his high pitch counts and the fear that he may injure himself due to all the stress he puts on his body.
Bauer disagrees. From a recent Sports Illustrated article:
Bauer saw what those organizations did and then weighed it against information he collected from coaches, classes, books, videos and personal experience. "I just felt like there was a more efficient way for me," he says. He concluded that his throwing regimen actually strengthened his arm, as long as it was in concert with extensive stretching and sound mechanics. Before this year's draft, he arranged face-to-face meetings with representatives from the clubs interested in him. He wanted to explain the specifics of his routine and the rationale behind it. He was willing to sacrifice a better slot in the draft—and therefore potentially accept a lower signing bonus—to be with an organization that trusted him.
"I told them all: 'This is what I do, it's what I believe in, and if you let me stick with it, I'll pitch in the major leagues for 20 years,'" Bauer says. "Some were open. Some weren't. But they needed to know what they were getting into."
The idea that a lot of hard work and unorthodox training will cause injuries is shortsighted. As the Sports Illustrated article points out:
The gunslingers of America are entering an industry that for more than 20 years has failed to protect them. The most promising one of all has done what he can to protect himself.
Teams are making the same mistake that they made when they thought Brandon Morrow, Brad Lincoln and Andrew Miller were all better and safer choices than a quirky undersized right hander with a weird delivery: Tim Lincecum.
Bauer struck out 203 batters in 136.2 innings and paired it with a WHIP of 0.80 (source: CollegeSplits). He has an insatiable work ethic and a brilliant mind for the game.
Scouts and draft experts should know better by now. If the Diamondbacks are in contention in the NL West this year, Bauer figures to pitch down the stretch.
Maybe they'll get a firm reminder on why they shouldn't judge a book by its quirky cover.
Kyle Boddy is the owner of Driveline Baseball and Driveline Biomechanics Research, both in Seattle, Washington. At his facility, he's melded statistical analysis, strength & conditioning, prehab/rehab, and advanced biomechanical analysis concepts to develop improved efficiency, durability, and fastball velocity of baseball pitchers. He is the author of The Dynamic Pitcher, a comprehensive book and video set dedicated to developing elite youth baseball pitchers.
He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and found on Twitter: @drivelinebases.