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Trevor Bauer was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 2015

As polarizing of a figure as Josh Tomlin is on Let's Go Tribe, I believe Trevor Bauer may top him in digital ink. Let us review his perplexing 2015 season.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, the inconsistent brilliance that is Trevor Bauer's pitching arsenal was on display sporadically, but it was still there. But as the season entered the dog days of September, Bauer appeared to tire, and his final month was fairly poor.

There were reports that Bauer had taken well to some of the input from Mickey Callaway and the staff during the season, so the hope was that during the offseason Bauer would continue to progress.

Chris Antonetti signed Gavin Floyd in the offseason, so Bauer was slated to be the number five guy in the rotation behind Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Salazar and Floyd. But being the number five guy means there is competition during spring training. The other options that Bauer was "in competition" with included 2014 surprise T.J. House, Josh Tomlin and Shaun Marcum. However, the likelihood Bauer would not be in the rotation was pretty slim.

In the opening series in Houston, Bauer dazzled, pitching six no-hit innings and whiffing eleven. But if one looks closer, it was a bit dicey as he walked a pair each in both the first and second innings, finishing with five walks altogether and 111 pitches. By the end of April, Bauer was looking like he would make the rotation a Big Four. He had a 1.12 WHIP, a 1.80 ERA, a 2.97 FIP and a 10.1 K/9.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins hit him hard to start May, but he finished the month strong, allowing just five earned runs in 29.1 innings, with a 0.95 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9. At this point, he had two bad starts versus eight good ones, which is a very good ratio.

But as June arrived, so did Bauer's loss of command. He had one great start against the Cubs but was pretty awful otherwise. He didn't get out of the fourth inning twice, and the long ball started to rear its ugly head, with five leaving the park that month.

There were signs of improvement in the final two starts prior to the All-Star game against the Pirates and Astros, as he allowed just nine hits (two homers), one walk and twelve strikeouts in 14.1 innings. But the break did not do Bauer any good as he became one of the worst starters in the second half of the season. And that takes into account a few really nice starts too. It was as if there was no middle ground: Either he was very good, or really, really awful.

Normally, I would only show the final stats for the season, but to give perspective, I have also included his first and second half splits just to emphasize how bad his second half was. It got so bad, that Terry Francona banished him to the pen in mid-September. He had a scoreless inning of relief against the White Sox on September 19 and then when the Tribe was eliminated, Francona re-inserted him back into the rotation during the final week.

Luckily that last start was a very good one. He used just 92 pitches, allowed just two hits (no home runs!), walked three and struck out three in seven shutout innings versus the Twins. I am hoping that Bauer uses that as a springboard this offseason.

He is very talented, just like every other former first round pick, but I hope he takes some time away from the game this winter to clear his head. I am by no means calling him a head case or anything like that, but I do believe Bauer's worst own enemy is himself. He tends to overthink quite a bit it seems.

Next year is his age 25-season and the last before he becomes arbitration eligible. He will start to get expensive in 2017, so if he does not figure it out next year, I fear that the front office will deal him. As he is under control until 2021, he would make a good trade chip. He has logged over 350 major league innings and does have good stuff. He could even be dealt this off-season if the right offer is received. With all of the arms coming up through the system and with most of the rotation under long-term deals, Bauer is facing his toughest challenge yet.











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