Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer is in baseball free agency thinking he’s worth more than $36M/year, more than what Gerrit Cole got from Yankees. According to this data model he was the highest rated player in 2020 but that was just a 60 game season. Many mediocre pitchers have started out of the gate early to fade as the marathon 162 game season progressed past All Star break. I could write a script and come up with a dozen examples.

Since the Twitterspere has been comparing him to Gerrit Cole’s recent contract, let’s look at their respective careers. All of this is up on baseball-handbook.com but this will be the first time copying tables there into this WordPress blog. Here are Trevor Bauer’s numbers through the years…

Trevor Bauer 2012-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2012 XXXXX -0.78 ARI PITCH  
2013 XXXXX -0.55 CLE PITCH  
2014 -134- -1.70 CLE PITCH  
2015 -090- -2.29 CLE PITCH  
2016 XXXXX -0.38 CLE PITCH  
2017 XXXXX 0.69 CLE PITCH  
2018 +008+ 7.83 CLE PITCH  
2019 XXXXX 2.69 CLE PITCH  
2019 XXXXX -2.46 CIN PITCH  
2020 +001+ 4.81 CIN PITCH CY
TOTAL XXXXX 7.86      

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Lots of negative numbers early in his career.  Two years ago Bauer broke top ten which is very good and then in the shortened 2020 season he ended up #1.   Rank links show seasonal trajectories.  In 2019 Bauer was ranked around #50 before Cleveland traded him to Cincinnati where he tanked second half of that season.

Let’s look at Gerrit Cole.

Gerrit Cole 2013-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2013 XXXXX 1.64 PIT PITCH  
2014 XXXXX 0.25 PIT PITCH  
2015 +016+ 6.05 PIT PITCH  
2016 XXXXX 0.76 PIT PITCH  
2017 XXXXX 0.46 PIT PITCH  
2018 +020+ 5.86 HOU PITCH  
2019 +002+ 9.64 HOU PITCH  
2020 +018+ 2.96 NYA PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 27.62      

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Cole had 3 ranked full seasons when he signed his contract with the Yankees.  His 2020 season trajectory shows he was on the rise when the season ended.  

Does Trevor Bauer deserve an elite contract based on a very good shortened 2020 seaso and a single top ten appearance two years ago?  Pitchers can be funny in that some years they’re brilliant while terrible the next year.  Even Cy Young had a bad season.  Cole Bauer has high upside and high downside potential.

This model only reflect the past results.  Long term contracts are always a gamble.  Estimating future results is all anyone can do.  Based upon the past 5 years, Bauer is far from the best pitcher in baseball.