Is Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer’s hot start enough to bring home the Cy Young trophy?
Last July, the Cincinnati Reds traded away Taylor Trammell and Yasiel Puig for then-Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer. The trade raised a few questions, as the Reds were a long shot to make the postseason. Not only did the Reds miss the playoffs, but Bauer did not pitch like the team had hoped. Fast forward a year, and Bauer is on track to win the 2020 NL CY Young Award.
Trevor Bauer may have been the biggest name the Reds ever snared at the trade deadline since Scott Rolen back in 2009. However, after being shipped south to Cincinnati, Bauer struggled with a 2-5 record and 6.39 ERA for the Reds last year. Though expectations entering 2020 were still high, it’s doubtful anyone expected Bauer to be as dominant as he’s been through four starts.
Bauer has certainly been a fan of this year’s rule change in regard to doubleheaders. With Major League Baseball going to a seven-inning format when teams are slated for a twin billing, He has pitched the second game in both Reds doubleheaders, going 7 scoreless in both of them. A 3-0 Bauer has enjoyed a boatload of success.
Bauer has pitched in Game 2 of both Cincinnati’s doubleheaders this season. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA while allowing just three hits and striking out 16 in two shutout performances.
Trevor Bauer is 3-0 in four starts with a 0.68 ERA. The California native has also punched out a ridiculous 41 of the 94 batters he’s faced, second only to his teammate Sonny Gray, who has two more starts than Bauer.
Bauer has to be the leader in clubhouse for the National League Cy Young Award, but he’s not a slam dunk. Let’s look at Bauer’s odds against a few 2020 Cy Young candidates via ESPN.com’s predictor.
Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs
It makes me ill to mention a member of thee Chicago Cubs, but Darvish’s performance speaks for itself. He’s is 4-1 through six starts and has a 1.80 ERA. While these numbers are impressive, Darvish has 3.2 more innings of work than Bauer. In a shortened season, Darvish would have to maintain that same level of success, while Bauer would have to virtually crater. I don’t see that happening.
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
Max Fried has been the rock of the Atlanta pitching staff this year. He is 3-0 over five starts and carries a 1.24 ERA with 28 strikeouts. With Mike Soroka out for the year due to a torn Achilles and a depleted rotation, Fried may be carrying too much of this Braves team.
As for Trevor Bauer, he has Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo to take the pressure off, knowing he has two potential aces following him in the rotation. Bauer also has13 more strikeouts in one less game. I think this gives Bauer the edge if both he and Fried stay on the same pace.
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds
Speaking of Sonny Gray, the Reds right-hander could end up being Bauer’s toughest competition. Gray has not allowed six hits since putting on a Reds uniform last season and has been dealing this year.
Gray is 4-1 in six starts, and if it wasn’t for the Reds offensive mishaps and a bad bullpen, that record could be 5-1. In two extra starts, Sonny only has 10 more strikeouts and has given up 23 hits to Bauer’s 8. Bauer’s ability to send almost everyone back to the dugout will make him hard to beat.
Trevor Bauer’s biggest issue may not have anything to do with his performance, but on the baseball writers who vote for him. It’s a new age of baseball and Bauer is not afraid to share his opinions on what he thinks is right or wrong. It’s really hit or miss right now on which writers like that attitude and which don’t.
While it would be a shame if this was the reason Bauer didn’t win the award, at the end of the day, the team wins matter more than individual awards. Bauer is a team-first guy, regardless of the reputation he may give off sometimes.
Though Bauer is free agent at the end of the year, my advice to Reds Country is to enjoy the ride. It has been a long time since we have seen a pitcher be this dominant in a Cincinnati Reds uniform and I, for one, am not taking that for granted.