The prospect buzz surrounding Trevor Bauer has quieted since his demotion to Triple-A Reno in mid-July, and that's understandable given his four-start stumble with the Diamondbacks produced a 6.06 ERA. The 21-year-old Bauer has gone 4-1, 2.85 in 11 starts for Reno, a performance that seems nice, if unspectacular—until you factor in Pacific Coast League context.
You see, Reno does not play in a typical home park. Aces Ballpark is one of the most offensive locales in all of the minors, and Reno has averaged 6.9 runs per game in four seasons since moving to Reno.
When Reno hits the road, playing mostly in the still-quite-offensive Western portion of the PCL, they have averaged 4.9 runs per game, or two fewer than their home output. Over the past four years, Aces hitters have received a big boost across the board—40 points in average, 48 points in on-base percentage and 83 points in slugging—when playing at home compared with the league's other 15 parks.
Because of scheduling quirks, only three of Bauer's 11 Triple-A starts have come at home, but he has compiled a 2.63 ERA in those three starts, even better than his 2.99 ERA on the road. The rest of his Reno teammates have compiled a 5.62 ERA at home.
As you would expect, the difficult home park has led to a lot of ugly ERAs for Reno pitchers. Of the 23 pitchers who have made 10 or more starts in a season in Reno since the park opened, 17 have compiled ERAs greater than 5.00, and 21 have had ERAs higher than 4.50. Billy Buckner (3.32 ERA in 2009) is the only starter before Bauer to put up a sub-4.50 ERA in 10 or more starts.
Bauer may have struggled in his first taste of the big leagues, but what he's done with Reno is a pretty good sign that he'll be back before long.
|MAKING THE MOST OF A BAD SITUATION:
TOP RENO STARTERS, MIN. 10 STARTS
|Best Starter ERA|
|2009||5.75||4.32||Billy Buckner (3.32)|
|2010||5.71||5.14||Matt Torra (4.55)|
|2011||6.15||5.09||Barry Enright (5.21)|
|2012||5.56||4.35||Trevor Bauer (2.85)|