Good Sports: Pitch Perfect
Published Apr 1, 2010 8:00 AM
If Trevor Bauer was an actor instead of a second-year pitcher for UCLA's baseball team, he might be Steve Buscemi or maybe Joe Pesci.
Like these classic character actors, Bauer's content to play second fiddle to the leading man in the credits, but he consistently delivers a performance that challenges, even upstages, the headliner. On the Bruins' pitching staff, Gerrit Cole — a first-round draft pick of the New York Yankees — gets top billing; but in 2009 Bauer was an All-American and quietly compiled a 9-3 record. He also was named National Freshman Pitcher of the Year.
"It was the same thing when I was at (Newhall, Calif.'s Hart) high school," he says. "When I was a junior, we had (senior) Mike Montgomery. He was 'the guy' and was picked 36th in the draft." Bauer eschewed his shot at being "the guy" in high school when he graduated a semester early and enrolled at UCLA last January. "I was looking for new challenges academically," he says.
Those challenges include courses in mechanical engineering, mathematics and physics, which the cerebral Bauer also applies to his pitching. "I'm constantly making adjustments, making up different spins and different breaks. I can make my curveball break down and in or down and out on a righthanded batter," he notes. This makes for an interesting relationship with Head Coach/Pitching Coach John Savage. "He looks at results, whether or not the pitch was a strike," Bauer says. "I look at process, asking why a fastball was up."
After spending part of last summer in Japan pitching for the U.S. National (Collegiate) Team, Bauer's back for his sophomore campaign. He's looking forward to it. "We don't quite have the power we had last year, but we'll hit better in the clutch. There are no questions about our (pitching) staff — it's outstanding from top to bottom. I'm sure we'll win more games than last year and make an NCAA regional."