Cleveland Sports Insiders

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500 words or less…on Ubaldo Jimenez and Trevor Bauer

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Trevor Bauer (photo: AP)

Trevor Bauer (photo: AP)

Can Trevor Bauer rebound from his struggling 2013 season?

Clevelandsportsinsider.com columnist Steve Orbanek and I bantered about the numbers of Danny Salazar‘s 2012 minor league campaign with Cody Anderson‘s stat line in 2013. Steve makes a good case for Anderson’s future in Friday, January 17th‘s Orbiting Cleveland.

Salazar and Anderson are different styled pitchers, but are on a similar trajectory.

From there, I began a cursory look at Trevor Bauer, pondering his future compared to Salazar and Anderson because of his day-to-day struggles to find the strike zone. While Bauer, Salazar and Anderson all have had varied levels of success, comping them while Bauer is struggling seemed unfair.

While pondering a comparison-study, one name stood out to me in relationship to Bauer: Ubaldo Jimenez. I cherry-picked Jimenez’s final season at Triple A Colorado Springs, as-well-as Bauer’s 2013 season in Columbus.

Name

Age

W

L

ERA

GS

CG

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

IBB

HBP

WP

BK

BB/9

K/9

SO

BABIP

FIP

Ubaldo Jimenez

23

8

5

5.85

19

1

103

110

74

67

9

62

0

3

11

0

5.4

7.8

89

0.332

4.5

Trevor Bauer

22

6

7

4.15

22

1

121.1

119

64

56

14

73

0

13

5

1

5.4

7.9

106

0.307

5.08

It’s worth noting that Bauer and Jimenez had similar journeys through the minors once starting the year in High A. Bauer started his High A career in 2011 and was in Triple A by May of 2012. Jimenez started the 2005 season in High A and was up to Colorado Springs by mid-season 2006.

What immediately stood out to me was their BB/9 and K/9 rates, which are virtually identical (and not special). For both, it’s important to note that both were at an elite level of K’s prior to their final season, while struggling with walks. Ubaldo’s K/9 was eight or better in every minor league stop but two, while Bauer’s has been 10.6 or better at every stop other than Columbus.

What was disconcerting were the home runs. Bauer gave up 14 in a hitter’s park in Columbus, while Jimenez gave up nine in the high altitude of Colorado Springs, who play their games at Security Service field, which is the highest elevated stadium in the United States. Both are comparable, but Security Service Field is clearly the harder place to pitch, and the Pacific Coast League in general. Here’s an interesting look at many stadiums and leagues, with Huntington a focus, and Security Service Field as well.

There certainly are a lot of intangibles to take into account here (and of course, other comps that perhaps didn’t end up as good as Ubaldo’s), and perhaps we will in another piece that allots more space than this. Jimenez made the big league Rockies in July of 2007 because their staff was decimated with injury, and never really looked back. He’s always struggled with control, fluctuating from okay to bad, but always rebounded.

For Bauer, this could be a good prognosticator for his future, and likely, his ceiling. If he can harness his pitches to the same extent as Jimenez in 2007, than Bauer can be the ace the Indians thought they acquired in December of 2012. Sure, there are flaws, but underneath, a devastating starter.

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