Trevor Bauer has developed a cult following among baseball fans before he's even delivered a major league pitch, which seems a rather unique development to me. Sure, players like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were hyped to the hilt and their debuts much anticipated, but Bauer's situation is different. He wasn't the first pick in the draft, he hasn't been declared the next best thing, he plays for a somewhat nondescript franchise that doesn't have a large fan base.
Yet I know a lot of fans will be watching his debut tonight in Atlanta, as the Diamondbacks take on the Braves. The cult of Bauer is primarily a result of his unusual warm-up regimen, in which he long tosses from foul pole to foul pole. Of course, it's not just his long toss routine that makes him fascinating. As Jim Caple wrote in spring training:
No, the most impressive thing is Bauer's response when asked just how far it is from the left field corner to the right corner.
"It's 330 feet down both lines, so it's 330 times root 2," he said, pulling out his smartphone. He called up the calculator accessory and punched in 330 times the square root of two. "That's 466.69 feet."
Yes, Bauer majored in mechanical engineering at UCLA.
He can obviously pitch as well, posting a 2.23 ERA in 16 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this season, while racking up 116 strikeouts in 93 innings. With a wide arsenal of pitches and a fastball that clocks into the mid-90s, he has dominating stuff. His motion resembles Tim Lincecum's for a good reason -- Bauer modeled his windup after Lincecum's. The big question will be his command, especially of his fastball; he also walked 46 batters in those 93 innings.
Is he worth the hype? Tristan Cockcroft of our fantasy baseball staff investigates that question here. Here's a good video on Bauer's extensive warm-up routine.
On a day when the Diamondbacks got terrible news about Daniel Hudson's injury, at least they can look forward to Bauer's debut. If you live in Atlanta, go check him out. But get there early.