Just another freak

This story appears in the June 13, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

A word of advice: See this kid now. See him while he's still double-hopping across the front of the mound to throw the first warmup pitch of every inning as hard as he can. See him while he's still free to play catch at 380 feet -- nearly foul pole to foul pole -- while singing along to the music in his headphones. See him while he's still playing Hacky Sack with the baseball as part of his pregame routine and wearing a bleached-out, three-year-old, salt-and-sweat-stained cap and not the pristine alternate version his big league team mandates for road Fridays. See him before the codes and constraints of professional baseball squeeze every last one of his idiosyncrasies into conformity.

You've never seen anything like UCLA junior righthander Trevor Bauer. He throws a seemingly endless variety of pitches. He subscribes to several theories of pitching and training that challenge baseball's established ideas of how to develop and maintain a hurler. He is statistically the best college pitcher in the country, a surefire top-10 pick in the amateur draft, a ridiculously talented 20-year-old with a 95 mph fastball whose main fault -- yes, fault -- seems to be that he has an arsenal of pitches that nobody in amateur baseball can hit.