Now that we've seen what Trevor Bauer can do in a game—a dominating effort in UCLA's 11-3 victory against Florida—I'm going to give a quick recap of his pregame ritual, for those who missed it on my Twitter feed.
First, the sophomore righthander got loose with some stretching, but it wasn't conventional. He was kicking a hacky-sack (I believe some of you call it a footbag) around for a while, then did some limbering exercises that seemed designed to get his legs loose. Next up was what his teammates call the "javelin," a long, flexible rod that Bauer held in the middle and shook. It apparently works something like a Shake Weight and works the arm muscles.
With those arm muscles limbered up, Bauer really got to work, beginning his long-toss routine. Working with bullpen catcher Juan Mendoza, Bauer starting throwing from a half-speed pitching motion from about 50 feet, and he slowly worked his way across the field from Mendoza. They started near the right-field line. Soon, Bauer was crow-hopping into every throw and stretching out to center field, then left-center, then close to the left-field foul pole.
Once, Mendoza short-hopped a return throw, and instead of reaching down to catch the ball, Bauer kicked it around hacky-sack style. He was having to wait for his return throws to make sure he didn't throw too close to Gators starter Alex Panteliodis, who was long-tossing himself but only out to about 120 feet.
The final piece of the puzzle for Bauer's routine is his first warmup throw of every inning. He starts behind the rubber, runs over the mound and throws as hard as he can to the plate, from about 54 feet. I've heard reports that those throws have registered 100 mph, which is believable considering Bauer hit 94 several times during Saturday night's game.
Panteliodis' 120-foot long toss is more conventional, though it's a recent convention, having begun in the last 30 years in baseball. Bauer's long-toss regimen is more old-school, while all his pre-game exercises and in-game gyrations are more new-age. The combination produces Bauer, who struck out 11 in seven innings and is now UCLA's all-time single-season leader, with 151, surpassing Pete Janicki, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the draft in 1992 when he set the record.
Bauer may not go fifth overall in next year's draft. But it's significant enough that he was given the ball for the opener tonight ahead of teammate Gerrit Cole, who threw a bullpen this afternoon pregame and looked strong for his start Monday. That will come against TCU, as Bauer pitched UCLA to its first-ever College World Series victory Saturday night.
His preseason work set the stage and was entertaining, but his in-game work—once the game's pace picked up—was even more impressive.
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