The Diamondbacks have just called up Trevor Bauer, the first-round phenom from UCLA who fashioned his delivery after Tim Lincecum.
Given the D’backs’ proximity to the Giants — standings-wise, at 2.5 games back San Francisco (but with a better run differential) — that may scare some Giants fans, as they’ve heard any number of great things about the also-dimunitve Bauer, who possesses the power arm “The Freak” once did. As talented as he is, though, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Here’s why:
Lincecum finished 2007 — the year he was called up in the month of May — with an ERA of 4.00. He flashed moments of brilliance, but he was far from the polished Cy Young winner he’d become in 2008 and 2009. What’s more, what Lincecum did to hitters in the minors is illegal in 48 states, while Bauer has just been very good. It’s probably also worth noting that Bauer is a couple of years younger than Lincecum was.
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||3.18||12||65.0||1.338||7.3||0.4||4.7||11.9||2.53|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||2.79||7||42.0||1.429||8.6||0.9||4.3||10.9||2.55|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||3.00||3||9.0||1.222||7.0||1.0||4.0||17.0||4.25|
That gives us about a year to really start worrying about Bauer, unless of course he starts spinning shutouts when he’s recalled. Then we can of course fall back on a potential innings limit.
Speaking of Lincecum, I may as well provide my two cents on what’s gone so utterly wrong with him this season. Who knows, really, but I have a plausible explanation that’s been running around in my head.
I think the loss of weight he allowed from his frame this winter, which has led him to a place where he has significantly diminished fastball velocity and stamina, has saddled him with a lack of confidence. And that’s just it. The combo of not being in prime physical shape to throw 200 innings and a lack of confidence — the speed at which he is sliding into that “here we go again” mentality when an inning goes sideways on him and a lack of conviction with each one of those critical pitches — has led to his fantastic downfall in 2012.
I think this theory, if at all true, helps some to explain why he’s had some much trouble with the big inning this season. The inning in which you have to throw a few extra pitches and have a few things go wrong is, after all, when a lack of both confidence and stamina would cripple a pitcher most. It’s when what is plaguing him will hurt him most, when that which is plotting against him is essentially doubling down on him — and this season it has been crushing him.
It’s that and the belief that he isn’t dealing with an arm injury that leaves me optimistic that he can come out of it and dominate again. When the weight to his physique returns, I believe so too will his confidence. With that he’ll be able to once again put the hitters on the defensive, and it will be an uncomfortable day for every one of them. And, should he indeed come out of this abominable stretch, it will be well-deserved.