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
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
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 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.