Dodgers: Could Trevor Bauer Be the Next Max Scherzer?

Why Trevor Bauer could continue to be one of the best starters in baseball for years to come.

2020 NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer is a Dodger. Last Friday, Bauer spurned the Mets and announced he had agreed to a contract with the Dodgers. On Thursday, the 3-year, $102 million deal became official.

The Hart High School alum will be entering his age 30 season come Opening Day. 30 traditionally signals the beginning of the end for starting pitchers, but could Bauer’s 30s be more productive than his 20s?

In recent history, there’s one fellow Cy Young winner who has pitched his best on the “wrong side” of 30 – Max Scherzer.

By The Numbers

  • Max Scherzer Age 23-29: (3.58 ERA,1.22 WHIP,117 ERA+,231 starts)
  • Max Scherzer Age 30-35: (2.80 ERA,0.969 WHIP,153 ERA+,170 starts )
  • Trevor Bauer Age 21-29: (3.90 ERA,1.27 WHIP,113 ERA+,195 starts)
  • Trevor Bauer Age 30-35: ?

Both Bauer and Scherzer won a Cy Young in their 20s before switching to a new team via free agency for their age 30 season.

Scherzer’s age 30-33 seasons with the Nationals were otherworldly (250+ strikeouts and a sub-1.00 WHIP each year) and would be very difficult to replicate. However, Bauer also has the arsenal to continue to contend for Cy Young trophies in his 30s on a new team, much like Scherzer.

Strikeouts Per Nine Innings By Age (Scherzer/Bauer)

  • Age 23: 10.6 / 8.4
  • Age 24: 9.2 / 8.7
  • Age 25: 8.5 / 8.0
  • Age 26: 8.0 / 10.0
  • Age 27: 11.1* / 11.3
  • Age 28: 10.1 / 10.7
  • Age 29: 10.3 / 12.3*

*Won Cy Young Award

Similar to Scherzer, Bauer has developed into a consistent strikeout pitcher later in his 20s. Each of them didn’t record a 200+ strikeout season until age 27. A pitcher just doesn’t wake up and start mowing down 200 batters a year, they have to continue to put in the work to improve. Say what you want about Bauer’s social media presence, but you can’t say he doesn’t work hard on his craft.

“ He was always very involved with video and really technology even back then. Just in terms of movements and patterns, and tunneling, and sequencing…he was a great guy to bring into the program because he was very, very advanced on really that technology. Some of the stuff they’re still obviously talking about today. He was a fierce competitor, like I said, he was a guy that wanted to win, he wanted to be part of a winning program.”

-UCLA Baseball Head Coach Jon Savage on Trevor Bauer on Dodger Talk with David Vassegh February 8th, 2021

By signing with the Dodgers, the analytically driven Bauer joins one of the most analytically driven franchises in baseball. Both parties are completely bought in on a process on how to improve and adjust in order to produce better results.

Good things tend to happen when your stars are aligned with the front office’s philosophy on how to achieve success.

Scherzer used his age 29 season and hard work to catapult himself to the next level. Bauer has the talent and drive to do the same. He’s in the perfect place to do it.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Calls Trevor Bauer to LA a ‘Perfect Marriage’

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  1. Mets offered 105 million, Dodgers 102 million, after taxes based on each state played in, probably a wash. Would anyone pick on job over another only because one offered 3% more money? I don’ think so, other things factor in, especially if its more money than you could ever spend.

    • Based on taxes alone, that’s a small difference. But based on your roster I’d much rather play for LA. Tell me what other teams are in in the NL? Pads? Cards? Braves? You guys have a clear advantage, especially if you ink Turner.

  2. Baseball/Cardinals fan here. You got a real competitor in Bauer. Love or hate his persona, he has the tools. You overpaid for him, sure. But if/when he delivers, he’s worth every penny. He reminds me of Chris Carpenter at the end of his career. Or Jack Nicklaus in golf in ‘86. They could WILL themselves to a win. Enjoy it. He will do what he needs. Your need to buy a championship like the Yankees is understood and you may catch us one day. But for now take solace in the notion that you made a great move.

  3. Other things like a $3 million hometown discount!

    The Dodgers should build, equip and staff their own “Driveline Baseball” facility. Make it part of the program. Every player goes through those doors every off-season, and any time they’re struggling.