It’s only spring training, but Trevor Bauer is finally throwing strikes

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One of the big knocks against Trevor Bauer as a top prospect and then as a young major leaguer was his poor control, as the former No. 3 overall pick in the draft has a walk rate of 4.3 per nine innings in the majors and 4.5 per nine innings in the minors.

However, at age 24 it looks like Bauer may finally be showing some significant signs of progress when it comes to consistently throwing the ball over the plate and trusting his excellent raw stuff. Or at least he has if you place any faith in spring training, during which he’s walked a grand total of just one batter in five starts.

Here’s what Bauer told Austin Laymance of MLB.com:

I’ve been able to get my work in and work on a couple of things that I think are going to help me out this year. … I’m happy with where I’m at. … You never know until you get into the season, good or bad. It’s just different here than it is in the season. So far, I’m encouraged by it, and we’ll see how it carries over into the season.

Bauer also has 18 strikeouts in 21 innings, so it’s not as if he’s sacrificed bat-missing ability for strike-throwing ability. Expecting him to go from horrible control to great control is wishful thinking, but if Bauer could cut his walk rate to, say, 3.0 per nine innings he has a chance to emerge as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Indians.