Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's Talk MLB Draft: Trevor Bauer

It's about a month until the draft, and I think it's due time we start looking at some candidates to be drafted. Trevor Bauer, an engineering major out of UCLA, is high on my list if you're looking for a solid arm. This kid is absolutely the real deal.

His delivery is very deceptive - he throws his arms and legs all over, and yet at the same time it's oddly compact. He brings the ball over directly overhand, too, which adds to the confusion. Just looking at him warming up in that video, you get the idea that opposing batters would struggle to hit him. He's very impressive.

Watching him in game action is equally eye-catching. That odd delivery certainly helps, but he's also just plain overpowering. For a team looking for a power arm that could contribute fairly quickly, Bauer might be a good choice in the upcoming draft, considering that he'll likely move through a Minors system pretty fast because he's so talented and intelligent. I wouldn't suggest rushing him, of course, since I'm not fond of rushing anybody (I've seen it go horribly with both Eddie Kunz and Craig Hansen now). However, I do think he would be able to spend less time in the Minors than the average college draftee and would be an asset to any club looking for a starter.

The only problem a team might face would be Bauer deciding to return for his senior season at UCLA. Engineering degrees are in high demand lately, after all, and if anything happened that prevented Bauer from continuing on in baseball it'd be a good thing to have. Stanford has a program that allows its student-athletes regarding their coursework, making it easier for them to come back and finish their degrees during the off-season - and indeed, many of their baseball players do (trust me, I can name way too many). If UCLA has a similar program, Bauer would be able to complete his degree after all, which would be a win-win for everyone involved.

I'm not going to make any huge projections yet, but I could easily see Bauer going in the early rounds in this year's draft. I can't say that he'd be a number one overall pick, but he's definitely going to be taken early now that he's eligible. Keep an eye on this kid.

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