— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) May 17, 2012
Uber-prospect Trevor Bauer took another step towards the big leagues, with the official announcement that he'll be moving up from Mobile to Reno. It's not much of a surprise, as he was clearly over-matching Double-A hitters: in eight starts with the Bay Bears, Bauer was 7-1, with a 1.68 ERA. In 48.1 innings, he had also struck out 60 batters, and the only real knock was a higher number of walks (26) than would be wanted. However, opponents were only hitting Bauer at a .192 average, and that was likely the main factor in his promotion. It'll be interesting to see how he fares for Reno, not only against a better standard of hitters, but also in a place notorious for being hitter-friendly.
More analysis after the jump. Hat-tip to Clefo for the original FanPost.
Tonight was going to be a marque match-up of pitching, or at least, as close as it can be in the Double-A world. Bauer had been scheduled to go up against Danny Hultzen, the man picked just ahead of Bauer, with the second overall pick in the 2010 draft [Hultzen had been picked by Arizona in the 10th round of the 2008 draft, but was not signed]. Hultzen had been just as successful, with a 1.91 ERA in his seven starts with the Jackson Generals, and this evening's scheduled contest between the two in Jackson had been eagerly anticipated. The Generals seem none too pleased about the news...
But, let's face it, minor-league promotion for another team's franchise is likely extremely low on the Diamondbacks' list of priorities, and it seems that the team decided Bauer had little more to prove at that level of baseball. He is already on the 40-man roster for Arizona, and as the main team continues to struggle, the question at this point would appear to be when, rather than if, Bauer will complete his meteoric ascent to the majors - he has still thrown only 74 professional innings to this point. The team may wish to avoid potential Super Two status, which generally means a player needs more than four months service time in his rookie year, so mid-June would be safe.
Bauer received plenty of media attention during spring training, when his warm-up routines - and, in particular, his long-toss work, ranging from foul-pole to foul-pole - were the talk of the Cactus League. He worked four games there, three starts and a "pseudo-start" where he split the duty, allowing four earned runs in ten innings, with a solid K:BB ratio of 9:1. For a player who had so little pro experience, that was a very solid performance seeing major-league caliber hitters for the first time, though as we've all seen, spring training numbers are not reliable as a guide to performance.
This was already mentioned in SnakeBytes the other day, but Nick Piecoro had a timely interview with Bauer, in which he offered the following critique of his personal performance so far:
Maybe a 6 or a 7. I don’t feel like I’ve thrown the ball as well as I could... I haven’t put everything together really. In one outing, I’m struggling with my mechanics. That throws everything off. Then I’ll put my mechanics together but mentally I’m distracted. I’ve been really close to having everything come together, but I just haven’t quite put it all together yet. Plus, I look at my performance now compared to what I know my potential is and where I know I’m going to be in a year or three years or five years. It’s hard to give myself high marks because I know I’m so much better than I am right now.
I'll repeat that. Bauer had a sub-two ERA, and his reaction is, "I know I’m so much better than I am right now." Either Bauer is dissembling at an almost epic level, or as soon as he does put it all together, we are in for a very interesting time. Needless to say, we'll be following his progress in Reno with a great deal of interest. He will be facing Oklahoma City, who are middle of the pack in terms of Pacific Coast League offense, with a line thus far of .274/.346/.425. But he will be pitching in Reno, and that is part of the reason the staff there have a 5.34 team ERA. Can Bauer adapt? Stay tuned....
Replacing Bauer in the rotation at Mobile and starting tonight's contest is right-hander Michael Bolsinger, fresh off a 10-strikeout outing at San Jose on May 12. Bolsinger, a 15th round pick from the 2010 draft, has put up sparkling numbers at every stop of his minor-league career. After posting a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings in his pro debut with Yakima in 2010, Bolsinger moved to Low-A South Bend in 2011, working a combined 2.66 ERA across 32 appearances (13 starts) and 101.2 innings of work, striking out 91 with 25 walks. Bolsinger even made a relief appearance at Triple-A Reno, working a scoreless frame as a late-season filler.
Moved up to Hi-A to start the year, Bolsinger has struck out an impressive 49 hitters with 13 walks in 38 innings, leading to a 2.37 ERA in the Cal League. Bolsinger is already 24 years old, so there might not be much room for improvement at this point of his career, but he keeps getting hitters out. We'll see what he can do after making perhaps the toughest jump in the minors. If he keeps succeeding at the Double-A level, he'll force himself onto people's radars.
If any other moves come down the wire with regard to who fills Bolsinger's spot at Hi-A, we'll let you know. It's worth noting that Tyler Green got the start today for South Bend, despite it being J.R. Bradley's turn through the rotation. J.R. might be moving up, or may simply have been pushed back a day to accommodate a promotion of Archie Bradley. Finally, it could simply be the case that someone's being skipped at South Bend and someone already at Visalia is taking Bolsinger's spot there, such as right-hander Kyle Winkler, who was a starter for Texas Christian University.