Bauer, Wilson benefit from pooled knowledge
D-backs prospect, Angels veteran learn from each other
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Last spring, Angels veteran left-hander C.J. Wilson came across an ESPN The Magazine story about UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer and his unique long-toss training program."I was kind of fascinated by hearing about how he was a little bit different because I've always felt I like I was a little different, too," Wilson said. Bauer wound up being selected third overall by the D-backs in the Draft that June, and during the winter Wilson went to Ron Wolforth's Texas Baseball Ranch to work with Bauer and see his routine first hand. The pair worked out together, did drills, watched video and spent hours talking about baseball. The admiration between the two is readily apparent. "We talked about mechanics when he was down there and kind of looked at it together and found a couple of things that he was good at, but could definitely improve at," Bauer said. "He's so aware of his body and you can explain a concept to him one time and he can translate that right away into what he's doing. That's rare to find because a lot of guys it takes them a while to figure out how to take the seeing it and thinking it and turn it into an actual movement pattern and repeat it. He seemed to pick it up real quick." Said Wilson of Bauer, "I see a lot of potential there. He's got a fascinating approach, he's really smart, he's a super sharp guy."
Bauer's program involves a lot of throwing, including from very long distances. Before his starts, it is not uncommon to see Bauer playing catch nearly from foul pole to foul pole.Wilson does not throw that far yet, but as a believer in long toss, he is working on doing it for a longer duration and greater distance. Intrigued by Bauer's scientific approach to pitching mechanics, the 31-year-old Wilson has tweaked his as a result. "I'm actually trying to incorporate some of his mechanical approach in using the body rhythm and whipping the ball and stuff in order to get a little more on it," Wilson said. "This spring, my velocity is up just after working two days with him and working with Ron Wolforth. I'm throwing harder at an age when I don't think that typically happens. It's all mechanics, just being more efficient with your body. And he gets the most out of his body, for sure." While Wilson picked Bauer's brain about mechanics and the like, Bauer tried to soak up as much information about what to expect at his first big league Spring Training and regular season. "I'm glad to hear that it was valuable for him, because it was definitely valuable for me to get to know him," Bauer said. "I asked mostly what it's like to go through a whole season, how your body handles it. I asked if he had any tips about how to work out and that kind of stuff. Because that's the one thing I haven't done yet, I haven't gone through the long professional season." The pair had something in common as they both tried to settle into new surroundings, with Wilson coming over to the Angels as a free agent after seven seasons with the Rangers. "We'd just check in and see how things were going," Bauer said. "Obviously, I'll be following him this year and looking to see. Just seeing that work ethic from a guy who's made it was kind of a reminder of, 'Hey this is what it takes. You always have to find a way, don't get complacent.'" Bauer will begin the season at Double-A Mobile, but the D-backs view him as someone who could be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. That would not surprise Wilson. "I think he's still kind of feeling his way through the Major League process and stuff like that," Wilson said. "I think he's going to have a lot of success once he understands how to use all the tools at his disposal."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.