I'm wondering what other people think about Trevor Bauer's much talked-about warmup routine. I personally have many reservations about it.
First, he claims that the routine wakes up his muscles. I have to ask if it might cause his muscles to fatigue earlier in a game. Pitching deep into a major league ball game must be physically demanding to the extreme. It's a little hard to figure how exerting yourself an hour or more before it even starts can't take its toll going into the later innings.
Second, it makes for a pitcher with less flexibility. What would happen if the Dbacks needed some emergency help from a starter as a last minute replacement? What if there were a rain delay at the beginning of the game? How would that affect Bauer's routine and performance? And of course, we can forget about putting him in the bullpen, unless we plan on making the call in the first inning to have him ready to go in the sixth.
Third, I have to ask in what sense it is beneficial for him. He has been developing the routine since he was 14, so it has become part of his makeup, but we don't really know if it helps him unless we conduct the scientific experiment of letting him try pitching without the routine. So far, pitchers have been getting by without such a routine for well over 100 years, and there have been a few good ones along the way. I'm sure that psychologically it would be very difficult for Bauer to let go of this warmup regimen, but that psychological dependency doesn't necessarily mean it is the best thing for him.
Fourth, I am skeptical about modern baseball players who work out too many of the muscle groups and muscle types that don't get used in the game. Many people think that injuries result from this sort of training, developing slow twitch muscles when fast twitch muscles are what are needed for example.
That's not to say that cross-training isn't beneficial, or that a pitcher shouldn't focus on developing lower body and core strength, but are these things that need to happen an hour before opening pitch?
What exactly is the science behind waking up the muscles? I thought that's what stretching exercises and maybe some short aerobic activities were for.
I understand that Bauer's routine is unique and adds to his persona, and I also understand that he believes it's essential, so in some sense, that belief becomes the truth. But I worry about his long-term durability as a pitcher with this routine. Can he keep it up for year after year? To say, "It works for him, and that's all that matters" may be a limiting perspective.