In which I dispense some amateurish medical advice to Trevor Bauer

I should state first off that I have no medical experience at all, and don't know what I'm talking about. That said, this stuff from Nick Piecoro's interview with Trevor Bauer doesn't seem normal:

Then I’ll put my mechanics together but mentally I’m distracted. ...

You said mentally distracted?

Yeah, sometimes. There have been three or four starts this year where I’ve had a really, really hard time focusing in the middle of innings. I’ll start out, I’ll be focused. Every game I pitch I lose my focus at some point. But I’m usually pretty good at zeroing back in and getting focused again. There have been a couple of starts this year where there’s been so much going on in my head. I’m on the mound and I find myself going through whole innings where I don’t really remember thinking about what I was doing, which is not good.

What’s going through your head? Are you replaying an at-bat from a previous inning or is it something totally different?

Nah, it’s stuff not related to baseball. I’ll have a conversation I had with a friend from the night before playing through my mind. Or I’ll be thinking about some science article that I read the night before. I don’t know, ‘Flying cars are pretty awesome.’ I’ll have this theoretical situation going on in my head like in between innings. When I get out to the mound I try to focus in. I have a couple different things that I use to zero my focus back in. It works partially but it still doesn’t clear my mind and then it’s hard to focus on what I’m doing. That’s something I’m really working on, trying to fix and rectify, my last couple of outings. ...

I try not to think about it [when I'm going to get called up], but it’s hard not to when people are always asking and stuff like that. Part of the distraction that I was talking about earlier, so many people are asking, it’s hard for me to separate and forget about stuff like that when I get on the mound. So it’s clouding my mind because I was frustrated with everyone asking. I wasn’t frustrated with not getting called up or anything like that, but just the constant reminder, the constant nagging nature of it was kind of annoying me and distracting me. But I’ve been better the last couple of outings of being able to get rid of that mind-set. Honestly, that’s one of the things that my headphones did for me in college and last year when I’d wear them. I’d put my playlist on, that’s the only thing I would think about because it was in my ears. That was the only thing that was going on – the riffs, the guitars, the drums, everything that was on my playlist. It put me in a focused mind-set. It got me ready to pitch. It synced me up rhythmically and stuff like that. So this year, since they asked me not to wear the headphones, I’ve been struggling with that. I had to come up with a new routine. It took me a while to come up with a new routine that did something similar. It’s not, obviously, as preferable as wearing my headphones would be, but I’ve been trying to find something that simulates it closely enough that I can focus again. I think I found something finally that helps me focus.

And what’s that?

I sit in my car or my locker, wherever we are, and I listen to my playlist before I go out and then I watch video of myself. Some of it is mechanical and some is video of me striking people out. It puts me in the right mind-set to attack hitters. It just enforces a positive mind-set because I’m watching myself be successful over and over. But then I’ll have an hour of warmup and some of that effect dies off, and fans are talking to me as I’m warming. So some of that effect kind of dies off, but it’s been working better than nothing.

I've never played baseball, but it can't be normal for a pitcher in his first few games of professional baseball, with thousands of fans watching his every move, to get so distracted by the science article he read last night that it affects his pitching. Right? If I'm the team doctor, I'm suggesting to Bauer that he get evaluated by a psychiatrist. That lack of focus sounds to me like a classic symptom of ADHD, or perhaps anxiety. Either way, it's easily fixable with medication.

Again, I have no idea whether Bauer really suffers from a condition of this type. But if there's any question, if there's any possibility that his game could be improved simply by taking a pill every morning for his mental health, I think he should investigate it.

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