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Just a Few Reasons I Love this Time of Year

I recently returned to Dallas after a spring break that took me to Scottsdale and Farmington to visit the people I love as well as to visit a residency that hopefully I will be a part of once I graduate from dental school.  During my time off I was able to watch several Cactus League games at the finest baseball venue on the planet: Salt River.  Holy shit.  That place makes Camelback look like a JV complex.  After a decade in Tucson, the Rox and Diamondbacks deserve this place.

When I got home Griff allowed me to work out his C-Team guys in the infield and at the dish for a couple of days.  I was able to watch his guys play Durango (CO) High’s C squad a couple times later in the week.  A friend and former teammate of ours manages the DHS boys, and that entire program is doing a terrific job in no small part due to what he brings to the lower levels.  It was a great little break from the daily grind of dental school, and it reminded me of what makes this time of year so special.

I was fortunate enough to watch some of the younger guys for Arizona and Colorado take part in an afternoon Minor League contest on some of the practice fields at Salt River, and it was easy to see in their faces how grateful they were to be doing what they were for a living.  They were nearly all around 3 or 4 years, if ever, from breaking camp with the big club, but that was nowhere to be seen in the way they carried themselves regardless of the fact that it was Minor League Spring Training.

Over on the big field, Colorado utility guy and fellow New Mexican, Jordan Pacheco, was demolishing Cactus League pitching as he has done all spring.  It would take a real group of idiots to send this guy back to Triple-A.  He represented the state, as he has always done, spectacularly.  With upwards of five New Mexican players cracking Major League rosters this spring, there’s never been a better time to grow up a ballplayer back home.

As I worked out Griff’s boys, it was obvious how into the game the youth around Farmington is today.  Farmington High and Piedra Vista are the two best AAAA teams in the state and probably the two best regardless of class.  Shilo McCall (PVHS) is now the top draft prospect statewide following an Alex Bregman (Abq. Academy) hand injury.  PV defeated several very high quality teams in Phoenix last week including nationally ranked Santa Fe High (OK), and both Farmington schools are poised for what will prove to be a dogfight of a district season.

Perhaps the one thing that stuck out in my mind the most vibrantly while I was home was the generational aspect of the game.  Several of Griff’s kids have family members that I either played with or against or even watched as a kid myself.  Two good friends and former teammates watched the births of their first children this month as well.  This time of year reminds us all to look positively toward the future and toward the upcoming months and to treat today as exactly what it is: an opportunity to grow within the game and within life that we will never get back.  It reminds us that last season, last month, and yesterday are all distant memories and that today and every single day after it deserve to be approached positively.  Also, the weather in the desert southwest in March cannot be beat.

Interview With a Vambauer

I originally planned on writing a review of my time spent at the ABCA (American baseball Coaches Association) national convention in Anaheim.  However, every time I began to think about the idea I grew more and more tired with it.  Finally, I realized that if I were already tired of the subject, then how could I possibly expect anyone to read it without feeling the same way?  Lucky for you the reader, I ran into the one and only Trevor Bauer.

Trevor Bauer is a true class act.  I say this with the following context…Bryce Harper made an appearance at the Marucci vendor’s booth and was obviously swarmed by anyone who caught a glance of his Bieber-esque beanie covered mane.  Over and over again Harper refused to sign autographs.  I know, I know, he is a busy guy.  He had a schedule and had to stay on top of it.  If he stopped for one, he would have to sign them all.  I get it.  Bryce Harper is a big deal.  But so is Trevor Bauer.  Dude was the 3rd overall pick in his draft.  He has hit 100 mph on the gun.  A lot of people hit deep fly balls.  The triple digit club is much more VIP.  Needless to say, Bauer had a crowd that rivaled Harper’s waiting for him after his Q and A session.  Trevor didn’t even look like he cared if he didn’t move for the next 24 hours.  He stood and took pictures, signed autographs, and carried on short conversations with each and every single person who waited for the briefest of moment with a star.  That group of people included me.  I patiently waited as every other person got their turn.  I wanted to make sure I was last, just in hopes that he might be willing to just talk for five minutes.  Lucky me.  And lucky for you too, I suppose.

After 30 minutes of waiting I got my chance to chat with Trevor Bauer, and he did not disappoint.  Trevor (that’s right, first name basis) is one educated guy.  He speaks with a purpose, but without trying to go over your head.  He seemed so comfortable with the entire situation that it was a tad bit scary.  I was also awed by the fact that he and I are the same size, with him maybe having 10 lbs on me.  Anyways, enough babbling.  What follows is my interview with Trevor Bauer.  (And mind you that this is the first time I have ever done an interview.  I apologize for the background noise, but this interview was done in the midst of 1000 other people milling around the convention center.)

Bauer interview

Top 50 Prospects: #8 – Trevor Bauer

#8 Trevor Bauer

Arizona Diamondbacks

DOB: 1/17/1991

Previous Rank: N/A

ETA: 2012

The Sombrero considered Trevor Bauer the No. 3 prospect going into the 2011 draft, exactly where he was selected.  Granted, we had Rendon at No. 1 and Bundy at No. 2, and both were selected after Bauer, but we still anticipated Bauer being both the easiest and cheapest sign of the truly elite prospects in 2011 class.

Bauer struggled upon his call-up to Double-A, but he was severely overworked at UCLA, and Towers made the correct move to shut him down rather than including him on the NLDS roster – although he could have helped.  After earning the Golden Spikes and setting numerous records at UCLA, Bauer signed an incentive-laden deal worth as much as $7 million, but with only $4.45 guaranteed.  The contract was genius, and in a year or two will certainly look like a bargain for the D-Backs.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev W L ERA G GS IP HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ 1 2 5.96 7 7 25.2 3 12 43 1.519 9.5 1.1 4.2 15.1 3.58
2011 20 Visalia CALL A+ 0 1 3.00 3 3 9.0 1 4 17 1.222 7.0 1.0 4.0 17.0 4.25
2011 20 Mobile SOUL AA 1 1 7.56 4 4 16.2 2 8 26 1.680 10.8 1.1 4.3 14.0 3.25
1 Season 1 2 5.96 7 7 25.2 3 12 43 1.519 9.5 1.1 4.2 15.1 3.58
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2012.

Bauer features some of the most unconventional pitching mechanics in the game, but he has always been tested as far as pitch counts go and has never really been injured.  We at The Sombrero are onboard in terms of challenging tradition so long as whatever challenges they may be can hold up against the empirical scrutiny of the game.

He features a fastball that can reach 98 mph, a boulder of a curveball that receives consistent 70s and the occasional 80, a plus slider and changeup, and a solid splitter.  Bauer is a tremendous athlete that has constantly overcome his lack of physicality.  He trains incredibly hard and truly knows what it means to compete.  Trevor Bauer should win a Cy Young Award or two for Arizona and represents everything that a young pitcher should desire to be.

Top 50 Prospects: # 15 – Jarrod Parker

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