D-backs sign top-pick Bauer
Photo by Jon Willey
By Greg Dillard
The future of the Arizona Diamondbacks got even brighter on Monday afternoon when the team announced the signing of first-round draft pick Trevor Bauer.
The 2011 Golden Spikes winner inked a Major League contract with the D-backs, and will report to High-A Visalia for his professional debut this Saturday.
The right-hander was selected No. 3 overall in June’s 2011 First-Year Player Draft after a stellar collegiate career at UCLA. After what he called a “nerve-wracking” signing process, the highly touted prospect will now embark on his journey to the big leagues.
“I’m definitely very excited to get this part of the process taken care of and start the next phase of it,” Bauer said, “which is actually playing baseball, which is what I enjoy doing. So I’m pretty excited about that part.”
D-backs executives Jerry DiPoto and Ray Montgomery joined Bauer at Chase Field to announce the signing.
“This is an exciting day for us in that we are embarking on something very new for this organization as we build a foundation of pitching around guys like Trevor, Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, Josh Collmenter, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker and Patrick Corbin,” DiPoto said. “It’s an exciting group of young guys. This is an opportunity for us to build a foundation around pitching.”
Bauer now joins an elite group of talented pitchers throughout the D-backs Minor League system. Unlike many first-round draft picks, he chose not to wait until the signing deadline. While many contract negotiations go down to the wire, Bauer didn’t want to prolong the process.
“I’ve been quoted as saying that cookie cutters are good for cookies,” Bauer said. “I don’t really like to follow that approach. I like to think outside the box and do my own thing in a lot of situations. I wanted to sign as quickly as possible and get out and pitch. That’s what they drafted me for and that’s what I enjoy doing. It just seemed logical for me to get out there and pitch.”
Now that he’s signed, Bauer will in fact be able to do just that. It’s been a busy summer for the new D-back. He completed his standout Bruins career in June. Bauer posted a 13-2 record with a 1.25 ERA during his junior season. He established a new Pac-10 record by striking out 203 batters. He also garnered Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors on six occasions.
In three collegiate seasons, the right-hander went 24-8 to go with a 2.36 ERA. He tallied 460 strikeouts in 373 1/3 innings of work. He exited UCLA as the program’s career leader in wins, strikeouts and innings.
Since finishing his collegiate career, Bauer has tried to enjoy his summer and prepare for his transition to the professional ranks.
“I’ve tried to relax as much as possible and enjoy my summer as much as possible,” Bauer said.
“I spent four weeks in Houston, training at the Texas baseball ranch and trying to get prepared to come out and pitch a significant amount the rest of the reason. That’s something that I wanted to do, and that I’ve been looking forward to.
“I just wanted to thank everybody in the Diamondbacks organization that has allowed me this opportunity. (It’s) been really first class in dealing with them throughout the whole process.”
Given his workload earlier this season with the Bruins, Bauer’s innings count will certainly be monitored in the coming weeks. He hopes to throw around 35 more innings this summer to close out the 2011 campaign. Bauer then said that 200 innings is his desired total next season.
With his signing, Bauer was immediately placed on the D-backs’ 40-man roster, and he could be on a quick ascension through the organization’s Minor League system.
“Obviously performance on the field will dictate how I move, if I move,” Bauer said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ve always had to earn everything that I’ve been given. I’d like to go out there and have a shot to prove that I can help this organization, whether it be this year or next year or whenever in the future.”
DiPoto did not rule out the possibility of Bauer making an appearance for the D-backs this September. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Bauer is eager to compete at the Minor or Major League level.
“I personally believe in myself enough that I think I can compete at the Major League level,” Bauer said. “That being said, it’s definitely something I’d like to do. It will really depend on how I perform in the Minor Leagues.”