The third overall pick by Arizona in this year's Draft, Trevor Bauer is learning something new every time he toes the rubber. The perfectionist in him demands it.
In his debut, it was about making adjustments and finding rhythm. Last time out, he had to overcome early wildness. On Tuesday, he tried to focus on controlling the running game.
Bauer (0-1) allowed one run on four hits while striking out a career-high eight batters over four innings in the Class A Advanced Visalia's 2-1 win over visiting Lancaster.
"I wasn't too pleased with it, but I'm a perfectionist," Bauer said. "There were some things that I was working on that didn't go as well as I had wanted, but results-wise, it was OK.
"I couldn't throw my slider anywhere near the plate. I couldn't throw it 50 feet at times. I thought I had made some adjustments in my bullpens this week, but in the game it felt completely foreign and as if I had never thrown it before."
Making his third professional start, Bauer struck out the first five JetHawks he faced -- four looking -- while facing one above the minimum through the first three frames.
"There were a lot of positives. I had a real good feel of my curveball and I'm getting a good idea of how to make it work in pro ball," he said. "I located my fastball and my change and I had a good feel for my slider and splitter. Five or my six pitches were working.
"I think I got to nine two-strike counts and I put eight of them away. Last time out, I walked way more than I liked, so I tried to focus on getting ahead of hitters which I did a good job of."
In the fourth, Bauer ran into trouble. Jiovanni Mier singled, stole second base and scored on Austin Wates' RBI single. Wates then swiped second, but he was thrown out trying to advance to third on Jonathan Singleton's ground ball to shortstop Chris Owings. Jose Thompson recorded a two-out single to put runners on first and second, but Bauer got Jonathan Meyer to fly out to right field to keep Visalia's lead intact.
Despite limiting the damage to just one run, Bauer knows that holding runners close to the bag is vital to his growth. In fact, it may be the one thing standing between him and a promotion.
"I was working on that tonight," Bauer said of throwing out of the stretch. "I had one guy steal on a change-up where the hitter swung and missed and the other one was on a curve ball that I missed up in the zone. They picked good pitches to run on. I need to work on being quicker to the plate and keeping them closer."
The 20-year-old, who went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA and 203 strikeouts at UCLA earlier this year, met with coaches after allowing four stolen bases over three innings in his last start Aug. 4, a 5-2 loss to the Stockton Ports. He plans to talk to them again Wednesday about improving even further ahead of his next game.
"One of the things they picked up on was runners stealing off of me," Bauer explained. "The main thing they saw and talked to me about was the running game. They'll evaluate it again tonight, and then we'll talk tomorrow and I'll see what they have to say.
"They told me that they wanted to move me up as quickly as my performance dictates. I'm not sure how long they will keep me here, but my plan is to go out there and do what they say. I'll prepare for my next start in Visalia. They haven't told me anything differently."
On Tuesday, Daniel Taylor (1-0) picked up the victory for the Rawhide, scattering two hits and striking out one over two innings of relief.