Reds hope Trevor Bauer leads the way in 2020

Right-hander looks to rebound from forgettable 2019
Posted at 2:08 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 02:28:38-05

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Trevor Bauer has spent the first few days of Reds' spring training camp trying to get his bearings.

The right-hander is still getting the hang of things after spending the last seven springs next door on the Indians' side of the spring training complex.

"Like for the first three days, I'm ‘Oh, I'm going to go to the food room’ and I end up in the video room,‘" he said.

“Look around like ‘OK,’ and I go in the wrong door, and I go to go to the clubhouse and I end up in someone's office, and they’re, ‘Hey, what can I do for you” and I'm like, ‘Oops, can you show me where the locker room is?’"

With some baseball experts projecting the Reds to win the NL Central for the first time since 2012, Bauer and the improved starting rotation are considered the keys.

The 29-year-old right-hander might be the most interesting man in Goodyear. He's an enigma of sorts who's outspoken at times but also self-aware.

So far, Bauer has publicly and loudly condemned the Astros for the sign-stealing scandal and called Commissioner Rob Manfred “a joke” for his proposal to expand the playoffs from five teams in each league to seven.

READ about Bauer sounding off.

"There's times it's like, ‘OK, I probably could have phrased that better. I don't think it's terrible, but it could have come off better,’" he said.

Bauer has been ahead of the curve with baseball analytics, using the new-age statistics since he was 14-years-old.

"I probably took all the arrows that there were at the time in the back when I came into the league and was talking about this stuff and I was told that I was using a certain organization as a science - my own personal science experiment - just because I wanted to have a high-speed camera to evaluate what I was doing," Bauer said.

Bauer has enjoyed a lot of success through analytics with 63 wins over the last four seasons and a career high 221 strikeouts in 2018.

SEE Bauer's career stats.

But he struggled after getting traded to Cincinnati, going 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 2019.

"I was extremely hittable. What's the word for couldn't get ‘em out? Un-outable? I don't know," Bauer laughed.

"It was the weirdest year of my entire career. There have been years that I've been bad, but I was just ... I’d have a couple good outings along the way, but I was just bad the majority of the time."

So Bauer went to work in the offseason and says he's coming into the spring with renewed strength and command - all to help a starting unit with high expectations in 2020.

"And the great thing about it is you come to spring training and it's a completely different year and hopefully this year aligns in the other direction where I'm really good and all luck is on my side. That'd be great," Bauer said.

Bauer said he thinks the starting rotation has all the talent and the Reds have the right support staff in place to be special. But he wants to see a few games pitched before he makes any bold statements.