DENVER — Trevor Bauer moved one step closer to the major league when he was promoted to Class AAA Reno on Thursday morning.
A move seemed almost inevitable – Bauer was 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA in eight starts at Class AA Mobile in his first full pro season since signing with the Diamondbacks after being the third player taken in the 2011 draft.
The D-backs feel they will get a more refined read on Bauer as he faces the next class of hitters at a smaller, more hitter-friendly park in the altitude at Reno.
“I wouldn’t say he completely overmatched double-A, but if you look at his numbers … we wanted to put him in an environment to where he probably was facing better competition, a little bit more of a veteran hitter. A smaller ball park,” D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said.
“It is going to be a little more difficult for him. Hitters have better plate discipline, which maybe will help with bringing his walk rate down. Challenge him a little bit more in triple-A.”
Bauer had out 60 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings at Mobile, but he also walked 28. The walks did not hurt as much, since he held opposing hitters to a .192 batting average. His fastball was clocked at 98 mph at Mobile, and he also continues to throw an assortment of off-speed pitches.
“I think he has four above-average pitches right now,” D-backs’ director of player development Mike Bell said last week.
Bauer, 21, is expected to make his first start at Reno on Friday. He was scheduled to pitch in Mobile today. He did not allow an earned run in his last two starts at Mobile, leaving with a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings. He also started the season with 14 straight scoreless innings.
Bauer was the second in professional baseball to reach seven victories when he beat Chattanooga last Friday, one day later than Class AA Frisco and former D-backs’ first-round draft pick Barret Loux got his seventh.
Citing his relative lack of profesional experience, the D-backs sent Bauer to the minors fairly early in spring training. He was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 spring innings, striking out nine and walking one.