I mean, what the fuck. Same arm slot, same release point, same path for much of the distance to home plate, and then the ball darts in three different directions. That shit is ridiculous.
The “baseball is boring” crowd is still out there, and I get that the game isn’t for everyone. It can be slow. The action can be few and far between. But it’s a thinking person’s game. It’s the shit in between that really makes the game so interesting. Sure, there are fans who just watch, waiting for their hometown superstar to come up and hit a 500-foot home run, but that doesn’t happen every night. What does happen every night is the strategy. Deception. A game plan to get 27 outs.
The Indians’ Trevor Bauer is somewhat of a mad scientist as it pertains to pitching. He studies the spin on the baseball, the way a baseball cuts through the air, and what pitch grips and finger pressure points create different spin and movement on the ball. What he’s essentially done over the last few years here is attempt to invent new pitches.
We’ve kind of been conditioned to think that there’s the four-seam, two-seam, changeup, slider, curve, cutter, sinker, etc. and what’s out there is what you can throw. Bauer has attempted to change that by tinkering with pitch grips and the pressure that he applies to certain areas of the ball to create new movements and greater spin rates. He’s got a Frankenstein lab with slow motion cameras to study his arm angles, release points and the path that these pitches take to home plate. Call me a nerd (I am), but I find this shit fascinating.
Bauer made his first career trip to the disabled list in 2018 after suffering a stress fracture in his right leg after getting hit by a line drive. The injury undoubtedly cost him a Cy Young finalist spot, if not the whole thing, as he had been third in the American League in ERA (2.22) at the time of the injury on August 11, two strikeouts behind Max Scherzer for the major league lead (214).
We’re about two and a half months away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and this guy is working on his craft while other guys are vacationing. I’d imagine this won’t be the last time we talk about Bauer being in the Cy Young conversation.