SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Stress, Trevor Bauer believes, is defined by your perspective.
While many people seek to avoid it, he embraces it. He believes his success as a pitcher depends on his ability to function with it, so he immerses himself in it. His workout routine comes from the please, sir, can I have another? school.
Bauers pregame regimen, which includes an hour of stretching, limbering up and throwing that ends with long toss from foul pole to foul pole, was a big part of his success at UCLA, a body of work that led the D-backs to take him with the third pick in the draft last June.
It is in the off-season that Bauer really gets serious.
Bauer, who turned 21 in January, bought a house in the Houston area this winter to be nearer to pitching mentor Ron Wolforth and his baseball ranch, where Bauer has conditioned for years.
The body adapts to the demands you put on it, so if you are going you going to have stress in a game, you have to train with similar stress so the body can adapt, he said Wednesday, his third day in the Diamondbacks spring training camp.Basically, everything I do is worked around that.
He over-stresses, actually.
The normal delivery time for a major league pitcher is about 1.5 seconds to two seconds, with the explosive force generated in the delivery lasting for about a half-second, maybe a little longer. With a conditioning routine he continually fine-tunes, Bauer puts his body through exercises that simulate a similar force for five, seven, maybe even 12 seconds.
He has often said that pitching is the easiest part of his routine, and it is not hard to understand.
Bauers daily program this winter began with a breakfast shake and an hour drive to the Wolforth ranch near The Woodlands, which is Paul Goldschmidts home. After an hour of conditioning work, Bauer would throw for another hour or so. Long toss some days, bullpen work on another, refining pitches and angles on his complement of a mid-90s fastball, curve, slider and changeup.
And he has variations on those, D-backs director of player development Mike Bell said.
After throwing, Bauer would drive back to Houston for a session at Dynamic Sports Training. If the mood struck, he would head back to Wolforths placeto work on hisfielding. Those days would wrapup up at 6 pm or so.The most intriguing part of Bauers throwing program is the series of target pads that Wolforth has created, the targets that range from 20 inches in diameter to 4 inches. Bauer throws from 20 feet, honing his accuracy.
That may go a long way to explain his extreme control numbers at UCLA last season, where he set a Pac-10 record with 203 strikeouts against 36 walks. In his first taste of pro ball after he signed his 4.3 million deal with the D-backs, when he struck out 43 while issuing 12 walks in seven games. He overmatched the Class A California League at Visalia, striking out 17 in nine innings, before finishing the season with Class AA Southern League champion Mobile.
The D-backs have not seen first-hand the routine Bauer goes through, but they believe in it.
Thats his craft, and thats what he believes is best for him," Bell said. "It has proven to be. We know he is taking care of himself. We know he is working hard all off-season.It might be different than some of the other guys, but thats fine, too. Were not here to mold everybody into the same pitcher or player. I think throwing is great. Its your profession, and thats what he does. He throws. Its intense. Its very focused. He is not out there just playing catch for fun. It is fun to him, but he treats it very seriously.
Like most in the industry, the D-backs believe that Bauer projects as a front-of-the-rotation, and one talent scout said, it could happen quick.
Bauer is not particularly concerned with that in his first major league camp.
Im just trying to learn a routine and how to get hitters out. Pick up any little bit of knowledge I can and go out there and try to get better as a pitcher. Wherever I end up, thats what Ill be doing, trying to get better, he said.
Bauer threw his first bullpen session Tuesday, afterward saying he was displeased with a few of his pitches. Manager Kirk Gibson had a 15-minute conversation with Bauer on Wednesday to encourage him to enjoy the process and not to try to live up to the expectations of others.
The kid is extremely driven, I can tell that after a few days, Gibson said.
He is extremely competitive, and he is extremely critical of himself. Let it unfold. Hes got ability. We know he has ability. But what is he going to do with it? Come out here and enjoy it. There are a lot of resources for him to utilize so he can develop and become who he can be. Hes a young kid with a lot of talent. He certainly has a golden arm.
Fitting Bauers lengthy workout routine into the D-backs spring schedule is one thing that may require compromise.
Its a learning experience for us both," Gibson said. "We certainly dont want to do anything that is going to make him not as good as he is. We want him to feel comfortable. At the same time, he has to learn we have a time frame and we have to figure out a way to do it.Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter