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  1. i understand that the dbacks may have been low on bauer, but is every other team also?couldn’t they have gotten anything more than gregorious for him?

    Comment by timtebow — December 12, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Funny if you push that list back to 2000 you find names like Roy Halladay on it, back to the 80s you find Schilling, Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine on it

    Comment by Pogue009 — December 12, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  3. “But, there are some pitchers with similar pedigrees who got to the big leagues at 21 despite command problems in the same way that Bauer did. Among those on the list:”

    I’m sorry but having a 10% walk rate is NOT having the same command problems as having a 17% walk rate.

    Comment by Evan — December 12, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  4. It takes 550 TBF for BB/9 to stabilize, and yes, Bauer has faced over 700 between the minors and the majors, however, he has never faced more than 350 batters in a single level. The most batters he did face was his brief 82 IP in the PCL where his BB/9 dropped from the 4+ to 3.84, he was incredibly young for the levels he’s pitched at and has only thrown 172.1 IP as a professional pitcher.

    I highly doubt that the Indians throw him in the rotation to start the season, instead they’ll put him in AAA to avoid starting his arbitration clock and may call him up around the ASB. This means that they are probably going to sign at least one FA SP, and probably use Kluber and a combo of Huff/Gomez to round out their rotation (Huff and Gomez have no more options, so this seems even more likely). Bauer doesn’t NEED to pitch in the majors in 2012, the Indians know that they are not going to be able to truly compete unless everything breaks right, so I think that your pessimism for Bauer may be a little unwarranted.

    Comment by Stuck in a slump — December 12, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  5. Allegedly, the D-Backs couldn’t get Gregorious for Bauer, which is how the Indians came to be involved. Antonetti called Towers and the rest is history.

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  6. a sample size of 16ip is nowhere big enough to draw any conclusion

    Comment by Pogue009 — December 12, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  7. We have long since learned to avoid drawing conclusion on the basis of small sample sizes. In this article, we are drawing a conclusion by comparing one pitcher’s small sample to other pitchers’ small samples.

    This seems doubly wrong.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — December 12, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  8. I’m actually surprised by the amount of glowing Cameron is doing over this trade, however, he then goes back to his doom and gloom mentality to thrash an incredibly young and talented pitcher who has a good chance and plenty of opportunity to fix this.

    Comment by Stuck in a slump — December 12, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  9. Hey everybody, I’m smart and went to the player page to find the most pointless thing I could say about Bauer!

    Minor league career rate is around 11%. Right around the Latos/Cain numbers… hmmmmmm!

    Comment by SKob — December 12, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  10. I totally agree with the premise that Arizona was selling low on Bauer’s value! The reports on this kid from before June last year were sky high. After his callup, he gets a case of the yips and gets injured. He’s never the same after that. Why would you dump him? Saw someone somewhere mention how Frnacona could be really good for a kid with some social issues – I like that thought. Very possible!

    Many of the players referenced here had arm trouble. I really believe this kid is a little ‘out there’, but he is very focused on doing what is best for his body and health. His long toss program is crazy, but he also fully believes he is preventing himself from injury. With the way many teams mishandle their prospects, I wouldn’t hesitate to believe this kid was a little paranoid about changing anything.

    Comment by SKob — December 12, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  11. Wil Myers is a top 10 prospect with fantastic pedigree and one big flaw (contact) who had a great year in the upper minors… “The Royals are complete morons for dealing him.”

    Trevor Bauer is a top 10 prospect with fantastic pedigree and one big flaw (throwing strikes) who had a great year in the upper minors… “Arizona wasn’t totally unjustified in dealing him.”

    Add to it that they both played in the PCL (big time hitters league) and that the Royals got FAR more of a return. What am I missing here besides the obvious Rays-worshipping bias?

    Comment by Matt — December 12, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  12. Dave’s underlying point isn’t incorrect, but yeah. I’d be a rich man if I had a nickle for every time I’ve seen Dave use SSS to shot down an argument out of hand.

    As far as Bauer goes, I see shades of another Diamondbacks farm hand that struck out the world and posted ~10% walk rates in AAA – Max Scherzer, who was useful out of the gate and coming into his own at 27/28. Only difference is Scherzer is a three-pitch pitcher that relies on his fastball while Bauer’s breaking stuff is all potentially plus. He’ll have to hone his command and will probably readjust after a couple of his high fastballs get hammered, but anyone who has watched him pitch can see his ceiling.

    Comment by Basebull — December 12, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  13. The fact that hitting prospects are much more valuable than pitching prospects.

    Comment by Mr. Barfman — December 12, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  14. This is the example that came to mind. I’m sure that Cameron could argue that Bauer and his mechanics or his unorthodox approach to pitching make him a particularly risky bet, but that’s not the argument that he laid out. He’s arguing based entirely on IP. Maybe he’s right about Bauer, but there’s a different, much better article to be written about the concerns going forward.

    Comment by McExpos — December 12, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  15. The fact that the Royals threw in three more of their best prospects? The fact that pitching prospects burnout about 2.5 times as often as hitting prospects? The fact that the gap between top 5 and top 10 is bigger than your alledging? The fact that one has issues aside from the stats (i.e. personality conflicts)? The fact that the history of power hitters with high k rates being successful is greater than pitchers who walk everyone?

    Shall I continue or have I sufficiently covered “what you’re missing here”?

    Comment by Marcus Andrews — December 12, 2012 @ 2:17 pm


    Comment by DbacksSkins — December 12, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  17. Halladay, Smoltz, Maddux, Randy Johnson. Pitching is difficult. Even the best of all time often take time to figure it out. Not everyone is Mark Prior or Dwight Gooden or Stephen Strasburg. But what all these guys do have in common is the ability to do at least one and often multiple things exceptionally. You bet on those types of guys.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 12, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  18. Forget Bauer’s small sample size of MLB innings. My big concern is his relatively large sample of minor league innings. His minor league strikeout rate is shiny by itself, but a K/BB of less than 3 doesn’t scream “MLB-ready”. I haven’t been able to find a player with a comparable minor league K/BB ratio that has thrived in the majors.

    Comment by mcbrown — December 12, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  19. Spot on. I couldn’t have said it better.

    Cameron’s completely missed the boat — We’re coming off a year where a team with 70% of its payroll devoted to pitching won the WS for the 2nd time in 3 years(!), and his analysis of both trade is blind to that reality.

    Pitching wins championships, and only the teams with an embarrassment of riches even dare to trade away young quality arms. I’d go further to say there is one rule for MLB GMs — Never trade young arms. Never.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — December 12, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  20. Dave points out a chink in Bauer’s armor, provides us with recent examples of similarly armored pitchers, and then wraps it up by saying the Indians will win this deal in a landslide even if Bauer only marginally improves?

    That effing bastard . . .

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  21. At least one was mentioned in the previous comment: Roy halladay

    I’d bet randy johnson struggled with k/bb in the minors too. Wouldn’t surprise me, though I wouldn’t bet on it, if Maddux and Smoltz did at some point too.

    Maddux struggled a lot with base on balls in his first two tries in the majors and he turned into probably the greatest command/control pitcher ever.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 12, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  22. So the Indians don’t want Ben Broussard and Shawn Nottingham back?

    Comment by philosofool — December 12, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  23. If buster posey + Pablo Sandoval and Matt Cain + tim lincecum had opposite service time, the salary split for the giants would not be nearly so lopsided.

    Scoring more runs than your opponent wins championships. In the sense that pitching is a large part of this you are right. But if Scutaro and sandoval don’t go crazy at the tail end of the playoffs perhaps we’re having a different discussion right now.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 12, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  24. The Diamondbacks wanted a shortstop. They’ve spent all offseason trying to get a shortstop. A better package without a shortstop would not have been acceptable. So the Dbacks myopia cost them a chance to turn Bauer into a better package.

    Comment by Krog — December 12, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  25. for anyone who has followed Kevin Towers’ career, this line of thinking shouldn’t be a surprise at all. He doesn’t operate in the Billy Beane mold of “just create the most value, and then figure out how to manage the roster later”, he fixates on a specific problem and then doesn’t quit until he solves it, even if he ends up with a suboptimal return… then moves on to the next problem.

    Comment by batpig — December 12, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  26. The Halladay comp is interesting, though the absolute K and BB rates for Halladay were quite different than Bower’s, despite the similar ratio issues. Obviously if Bauer turns into Halladay, even with a Halladay-esque meltdown along the way, the Indians will be thrilled. But Halladay doesn’t seem like a very similar pitcher at all.

    Actually, looking at Dave’s list again Billingsley looks like a really good comp. I’m not sure how I missed that the first time through. He posted a K and BB rates of 26% and 10% respectively in 70 AAA innings, very similar to Bauer’s 28% and 10% in 80 AAA innings. If Bauer turns into Billingsley some people might consider that a disappointment against expectations, but it would be a damned fine return for the Indians.

    Comment by mcbrown — December 12, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  27. Seems like a variety of reasons for that. Teams seem to be drafting more college kids. Also, (in theory) a younger guy would be more likely to be promoted in bad teams at a younger age. For example, guys like Profar and Olt would already be on many teams MLB rosters. Yes I know they aren’t pitchers, but they were the best example of younger guys not getting to the big leagues because of a good MLB player at their position.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — December 12, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  28. this makes no sense. if they really just absolutely couldnt stand bauer then why not trade him for a package of equal value and then flip some of that return for gregorius or whomever?

    Comment by akh243 — December 12, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  29. “…why not trade him for a package of equal value and then flip some of that return for gregorius…?

    That’s sort of what they did, I guess? They just got kinky and swung both trades at the same time.

    Anyhow, from their pile of valuable assets, Arizona identified Bauer as THE guy they could most afford to deal for a young SS and you have to assume they explored every Bauer-related option before doing what they did.

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  30. Obviously there are studies that show that there are standard aging curves for the effectiveness and speeds of certain pitches? But are there corresponding studies that relate those curves to questions of command and control?

    I don’t think it’s as simple as picking a guy with similar stuff since I see the question of stuff and the ability to use it as very different. Bauer right now is a thrower. The question is if he’ll become a pitcher, and there are examples of guys who do (Maddux, glavine, halladay, Smoltz, halladay, gio gonzalez, etc …) and guys who don’t (Andrew miller, jonathon Sanchez).

    Really he could be either, and I don’t know which. No one does, though having an organization that suports him and a pitching coach he can work with will go a long way to determine which. But if I were a mid market team, I would always take this type of gamble.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 12, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  31. True, but trading a top 10 pitching prospect (and kicking in a couple of useful bullpen arms) for a C+ type, a crappy reliever, and a non-prospect is not a terrible deal how?

    I’m just pointing out the obvious bias. If the Rays had traded for Bauer we’d get an article about saying something like:

    “There are legitimate concerns about his control and makeup but clearly the Rays FO knows what they’re doing, aren’t too concerned about them, he’s young, etc etc etc. Huge win for Tampa and terrible deal for the D-backs.”

    Comment by Matt — December 13, 2012 @ 7:24 am

  32. Wow, you really know how to parrot back the FG talking points.

    Obviously, I was being a little facetious to make a point.

    When you get down to it, the Diamondbacks just traded a top 10 pitching prospect – a recent #3 overall pick for whom none of the shine has come off (unless you put a lot of stock into 3 MLB starts or that FO’s laughable mishandling of player personalities) – for a no-hit SS prospect that Sickels just gave a C+ grade.

    And they even kicked in a couple of useful bullpen arms, getting back a crappy reliever and non-prospect, to get the deal done.

    True, the Royals-Rays deal was bad. I’m not arguing that point. Having to include Odorizzi wasn’t great either, but at least they got a useful and potentially very good part (Davis) back. Montgomery wasn’t one of their top prospects anymore.

    I like FG a lot, but the argument I’m making here is that writers on this site fawn over their pet FO’s, like the Rays, and rip the ones they’ve decided (with good reason) are stupid, regardless of what they do.

    I think this deal was quite a bit worse than the Rays-Royals deal. But hey, neither the Rays (“best FO ever!”) or the Royals (“worst FO ever!”) were involved, so we don’t get the kind of hyperbole here that we got in the post analyzing that trade.

    Comment by Matt — December 13, 2012 @ 7:32 am

  33. To Crumpled:

    You’re joking right? Detroit scored 6 runs in 4 games, and was SWEPT. When you shut a team out, you don’t need much offense…

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — December 13, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  34. Am I joking about the service time issue? ie. that the pitchers have big contracts because they happened to reach the majors first.

    Or am I joking about the fact that the Giants needed extra innings to win Game 4 of the World Series?

    That they happened to completely destroy the best pitcher in baseball Justin Verlander in Game 1? (With Barry Zito pitching no less, the same Zito who got pulled after 2.2 innings in Game 4 of the NLDS. Way to go big spending on pitching!) And that the guys who got to Verlander were Sandoval and Scutaro.

    That series easily could easily have been tied 2-2 after four games if offense didn’t matter, and the Tigers could have won two close ones. That doesn’t fit into your narrative of course.

    Or what about the NLCS which went to 7 games. Am I joking about that? Were there shut outs involved yes? But not exclusively, and there were also tons of runs scored by the Giants when they weren’t losing.

    Or what about the 5 game NLDS? Which they won because of semi-adequate pitching and a grand slam. Or do home runs by Buster Posey not count?

    You win by scoring more runs then your opponents. You need a mix of good pitching and good hitting. Most teams salary distributions depend mostly on their players service time. Barry Zito (who I somehow forgot), who is a terrible signing (though no longer a totally awful pitcher) is obviously responsible for a large part of the Giants 70-30 salary distribution.

    Are you really arguing that in order to win a championship you have to give a league average pitcher 20 million per year? Wouldn’t the Giants be better off if that 20 million going to Barry Zito was going to a good player or two good players, pitchers or hitters?

    You win by having the best players. And also luck has a large part to do with it.

    After all, baseball is a sport where it’s not terribly uncommon for the worst team in the game to win three or four games in a row against the best one. Let alone two teams that are virtually equal.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 13, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  35. Interesting takes on this trade, some of you actually have a very well grounded knowledge of the game in here. Cameron is not a bad writer here and I do understand his pov. However, i also believe he’s off base here, but perhaps not as much as you. Baur has an incredibly high ceiling, however, track records of malcontent anti-social players with HUGE talent and a self serving ego issues with too many dash’s of paranoia sprinkled in have been abysmally bad. Baseball is a game also about chemistry in the dugout. THAT is incredibly important to a championship team, however, there are rare exceptions even to that rule. Bottom line is you are correct in your assessment of trading away good young pitching. NEVER.

    Comment by TheCoach — December 13, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

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