- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

Trevor Bauer Will Be Back

Roster expansion can lead to players getting more opportunities. In some cases, this means redemption for players who were up earlier in the year, and eventually sent to the minors. The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced that Trevor Bauer will get another chance to prove himself in the majors. And while the team won’t call him up immediately, he could still provide some value in the fantasy playoffs.

Trevor Bauer, ARI SP Ownership: ESPN – 3.1% Yahoo – 6%

Bauer already had a chance to impress fantasy owners this season, and failed miserably. But the Diamondbacks are going to give him another chance. Problem is, Bauer won’t be called up immediately. Instead, Bauer will pitch during the Triple-A playoffs. How well the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate performs will obviously impact when Bauer gets called up again. At the very worst, Bauer wouldn’t be up until around September 16, when the playoffs end.

But there’s reason to be optimistic about Bauer’s promotion. The Diamondbacks don’t play many offensive juggernauts the rest of the year.

Diamondbacks Opponents wOBA Rank
LAD x 2 0.301 27
SF x 3 0.309 21
SD x 2 0.302 26
COL x 2 0.331 5
CHC 0.293 29

Outside of Colorado, those are all good match-ups for Bauer. The only other team to be cautious about on that list is the Dodgers. Their offense has been horrible all season, but they added Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Adrian Gonzalez over the past month. The team still might not be one of the better offensive clubs in the league, but they have definitely improved. Depending on how long Bauer is pitching in the Triple-A playoffs, he could miss facing the Dodgers. He definitely won’t be up during the team’s first matchup with L.A, since it takes place at the beginning of the month.

Bauer was hardly effective in his four start debut with the Diamondbacks, but it would be foolish to write him off after 16.1 innings. He really struggled with his command, walking 16.9% of all batters. And while there’s no way he’ll be effective if he keeps that up, there’s no way that’s his true talent level. The nice thing about Bauer is that his strikeouts translated to the big leauges. Bauer managed to strikeout over a batter per inning during his brief stint in Arizona. Those strikeouts do help to offset some of Bauer’s walks. Still, he’ll be walking a very fine line if he can’t improve his control the second time around.

Picking up Bauer to start a fantasy playoff game is definitely a risk. If he struggles like he did earlier in the season, he could really sink your team. At the same time, there’s a good chance Bauer will offer the highest upside of any pitcher still on the waiver wire in September. If Bauer can put it all together for just one start, the payoff will be high. His potential for a high number of strikeouts and his history as a prospect will make him an intriguing, but risky, pickup. Fantasy leagues are rarely won by playing it safe, and Bauer is as high-risk, high-reward as they come.