The D-backs have expressed their desire for top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to improve on his game management.
The analytical Bauer, a mechanical engineering and mathematics major while at UCLA, prefers a different, more specific expression.
"Game management is a term that everyone throws out there that is completely meaningless and it is just words that people put together like, 'Oh, he got hit today. Well, the ball was up.' It's catch-phrases and catch-all that means that, 'This is what he has to work on,' or whatever," Bauer said. "Yeah, I need to manage a game better but what is game management? Is it you get a guy 0-2 and instead of trying to throw a couple of breaking balls and try to punch him out, you throw him a fastball and let him get a hit? Is that better game management? 'Yeah, he didn't walk as many people but he gave up another hit.'"
One message is clear: The statistics say Bauer, No. 6 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list has been dominant.
The D-backs pitching prospect is 11-1 with a 2.11 ERA, including a 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA in eight starts for Double-A Mobile before his promotion to Reno. He is 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA in Triple-A.
The D-backs want Bauer to keep his velocity up over a long Major League career and are not excited about the prospect of their young starter throwing 130 pitches per outing. That said, D-backs farm director Mike Bell said that he has not completely ruled out the possibility of high pitch counts for Bauer when gets promoted to the big leagues one day. Bell also acknowledged the decision ultimately rests with general manager Kevin Towers along with manager Kirk Gibson and staff.
"It's different to some degree and maybe a little old-school but guys in previous years used to throw a lot," Bell said. "Their main concern was getting outs and that's where Trevor is at. I'm not telling him he can't do anything. I think he's that special. Right now, we are focused on his development."
Bauer has thrown an estimated 90-100 pitches per outing in the Minors. He threw 113 pitches against Oklahoma City in his first Triple-A start. He is not on a pitch count.
The young right-hander has also dealt with nagging groin soreness but it has not affected his performances.
"I'm 21 years old, I'm still working on stuff and, yeah, that's part of my development, being able to execute my pitches better, have better command of my pitches. If I execute my pitches better, I have better game management," Bauer said. "The next time I won't be able to execute my pitches and it will be, 'He needs to work on game management.'
"So, it's all execution. My plan is solid. I have a really good plan," he continued. "I'm prepared when I go out there and I try to execute. Some nights I can and some nights I can't. It's not like I don't know how to manage a game. I think I manage games pretty darn well. I don't give up a lot of runs. I don't give up a lot of hits. I get a lot of wins for the team."