Trevor Bauer will start Game 2 of the World Series against the Cubs. Bauer, in his third full season in the majors, has been about a league-average pitcher through his career (career ERA+ of 98), and in 2016 he has been only slightly better than that (ERA of 4.26, FIP of 3.99, for an ERA+ of 108). Bauer earned a no-decision in his start during the ALDS against the Red Sox, allowing three runs over 4 ⅔ innings. While repairing a drone on an off-day before the ALCS, he received a laceration on his right pinky that required ten stitches. His start was bumped from Game 2 to Game 3, but he was still only able to pitch ⅔ of an inning against the Blue Jays before his stitches burst and he had to be removed from the game.
Pitch usage and trends: Bauer’s first six games in 2016 were pitched out of the bullpen, and he used relatively few changeups and curves. As a starter (28 of the remaining 29 games; the exception being July 1, when he entered in the 15th inning of a 19-inning game), he threw his four- and two-seam fastballs about half the time, with his curve, cutter, and changeup roughly splitting the remainder evenly. His velocity (the bottom chart of the pair below) has remained pretty consistent over the season, though unsurprisingly he threw harder as a reliever (average fastball velocity 94.6 mph) than as a starter (93.7 mph):
He doesn’t change his repertoire much to left- vs. right-handed batters. When ahead in the count, he is much more likely to rely on his curve – up to 54% of the time with an 0-2 count. When behind, he rarely uses the curve, going to the changeup instead:
Pitch value: Bauer’s cutter, changeup, and curve are all somewhat better than average pitches, yielding fewer total bases per 100 pitches than average while being very similar to the average rate of balls. His two- and four-seam fastballs are about league average in value:
Pitch location: The charts below display the typical locations of Bauer’s various pitches. His four- and two-seam fastballs tend to be fairly high in the strike zone (the grey polygon in the center of each chart), while his changeup targets the bottom of the zone, and his curve often drops out of the strike zone altogether. His cutter targets the side of the strike zone – inside to a left-handed batter, outside to a righty: