MLB betting. Season-long fantasy leagues. Daily fantasy. No matter the form of your investment in baseball, we all need to determine which players are worth our money and which are bound to let us down.
The stock market has taught us to buy low and sell high – sports are no different. New Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is fresh off a Cy Young award in the shortened 2020 season. His value is now higher than ever before.
Those aiming to draft Bauer in their fantasy leagues or back the LA moneyline while Trevor is pitching will be required to pay a steep fee. Is this fee worth it or are we better off fading the line and looking elsewhere?
Let’s get into it!
Trevor Bauer – SP – LAD
ADP on CBSSports: 10.6
Pos Rank on CBSSports: 4th
2020 Breakdown: You’d be hard pressed to find a better starting pitcher than Trevor Bauer in 2020. The then-Reds standout struggled to get wins (5-4) but excelled in all other areas.
Bauer kept hitters off balance all season long, allowing just 41 hits and 17 walks in 73 innings of work – good for a WHIP of 0.79 which led the National League. With few baserunners to worry about, Bauer had no problem keeping his ERA low – a sterling 1.73 which also led the National League.
Bauer’s stuff was filthy in 2020 – racking up an even 100 strikeouts in 73 innings (12.33 K/9). This was the 3rd highest rate in the Major Leagues behind only Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom – both well-known strikeout artists.
2021 Outlook: Now on the Dodgers in 2021, can we expect another Cy Young-caliber campaign from the 30-year-old or will we see some regression?
Refining his repertoire was an essential piece of the puzzle in 2020. Bauer practically eliminated his slider – throwing it just 0.3% of pitches in 2020 compared to 7.6% in 2019. Bauer also threw 4% fewer curveballs – focusing more on his 4-seam and cutting fastballs along with his slider.
Bauer’s 4-seam fastball was tremendous in 2020 – a 2.63 wFA/C which assigns any given pitch a weighted number of runs above value.
The plate discipline numbers against Bauer look nearly identical in 2020 compared to previous seasons. He is not missing more bats or throwing more balls in the zone. His pitches are simply creating more outs.
Fly ball rates have risen against Bauer each of the past 2 seasons. 47.8% of batted balls were fly balls in 2020 compared to 40.4% in 2019. The average launch angle against Bauer in 2018 was 12.0 degrees. In 2019 it was 16.4 degrees. It was 20.9 degrees last season.
Exit velocity against Bauer has remained consistent throughout his entire career while his HardHit% is actually up a tick in 2020. An extremely low BABIP of .215 and an extremely high LOB% of 90.9% indicate that Trevor Bauer was the beneficiary of some good fortune in 2020.
Bauer is due for some regression, but not back to the mediocre Trevor Bauer of old. His 2020 SIERA was 2.94 and his xFIP 3.25 – indicating that Bauer is a very good pitcher but not Bob Gibson-esque as he appeared last summer.