A little over a year after the D-backs selected him with the third overall pick in the Draft, Trevor Bauer will make his Major League debut.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson confirmed that the team's top prospect will be promoted from Triple-A Reno to face the Braves on Thursday in Atlanta.
"He's excited, we're excited to have him, let's be honest," Gibson told MLB.com. "It's a great challenge for Trevor, and he's up to it."
Bauer has raced through the D-backs system and shares the Minor League lead with 118 strikeouts across two levels this season. He began the year with Double-A Mobile and went 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA in eight starts. Promoted to Reno in mid-May, he was 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA in eight Pacific Coast League outings.
"I think we feel that Trevor has progressed and it's getting time for him to find out how he does against a little better competition," Gibson said. "It has to start, and we've decided this is it."
Bauer is expected to join the D-backs on Wednesday. And while the hype surrounding his debut will be formidable, it could provide a relief of sorts for the UCLA product.
"I can control how hard I work and how I prepare and how I sleep and how I eat," Bauer told MLB.com earlier this month. "Promotion, no promotion, cut or whatever, I don't want to think about it. I play baseball and I pitch every fifth day, and whatever team I am on, that's what I'm going to do."
Bauer has garnered almost as much attention for his unique pregame routine as for the impressive numbers he's posted. He starts warming up exactly 80 minutes before the first pitch, beginning with short tossing. He increases the distance until he's throwing from one foul pole to the other.
With a career Minor League mark of 12-3 and a 3.03 ERA, the D-backs have allowed the 21-year-old right-hander to continue with his unorthodox routine. Perhaps with an eye toward Thursday's debut, team officials met with Bauer earlier this month at Chase Field.
The meeting, according to MLB.com, had more to do with non-baseball-related issues.
"Trevor's talent and the unique way in which he does his work makes him a natural story for a lot of media members," said Josh Rawitch, the D-backs' senior vice president of communications. "And we were fortunate to have time to chat with him about how to handle those demands."
Bauer, who employs a nine-pitch repertoire, has admitted he's his own worst critic. He has a cerebral approach to pitching and used a high-speed camera he purchased during the offseason to review footage of the ball leaving his right hand.
"We didn't tell him what he could say and not say," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "We want [our players] to be their own selves, but ... when that point comes and he is up here, he's going to get hit in a lot of different areas and the less distractions for you every fifth day, the better."
"My worry is that people put too much expectation on the young kid right now," he said. "It's all a process, you know. This game is a little different, the hitters are a little better, the game's going to be a little faster. All the things that we've worked on starting in Spring Training, he's going to be tested to see how good he is at dealing with them."