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The sweet scientist

Player of the Year Bauer mixes interest in nanotechnology, baseball

Posted: July 6, 2008 1:24 a.m.
Updated: September 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Hart starting pitcher and All-Santa Clarita Valley Baseball Player of the Year Trevor Bauer went 12-0 with 106 strikeouts and four shutouts this past season.

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Before he was three years old, Trevor Bauer spent several weeks attempting to ride a two-wheel bicycle.

Determined not to fail, he returned from day care each day and tried again. Every time he fell, he'd get right back up. Finally, a week before his birthday, he succeeded.

Even as a toddler, his concentration was evident.

"He was able to focus his attention at a really young age," said his father Warren, who works in the door manufacturing business and is an engineer by training.

So when Michael Miller, Bauer's neighbor who would later be drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, called the youngster to play baseball, Bauer put that same focus he had for riding his bike into baseball.

Baseball in this case was just lucky. It doesn't really matter what Bauer picked. The 4.2 GPA student, who walked around the house swinging one of those big yellow fat bats as a kid, is good at anything when he puts his mind to it.

You're more likely to find Bauer, the Hart junior and the Signal's All-SCV Baseball Player of the Year, reading Scientific America than ESPN the Magazine. If baseball doesn't work out, don't feel sorry for him. He may end up trying to cure cancer.

One of his many interests is nanotechnology, which promises new methods for the treatment of cancer. Interestingly enough, he found out about it through baseball and the stealth bats made by Easton.

At family gatherings, Bauer is usually involved in chess tournaments, instead of playing catch.

In the dugout, Bauer tries not to discuss his intellectual interests.

"They all think I'm weird," he says of his teammates.

Bauer is unique.

Usually when the Player of the Year is a junior, he comes back to defend his title. But not in this case. Bauer who is 37 credits short of graduating and will finish school in December has committed to UCLA for the spring.

"High school classes are kind of boring," Bauer said frankly.

He's taking two of his classes at College of the Canyons, in hopes of finding more of a challenge.

Baseball is just like the other intellectual games to Bauer. It's a puzzle. How do you go about attacking the hitters? How can you make your arm throw faster?

"He plays baseball because he likes the challenge," Warren said.

Trevor Bauer isn't a natural athlete. You would think so because he reaches 94 miles-per-hour on the gun. Though he's been blessed with a good arm, he topped out at 82 his freshman year.

But Bauer found a way to mix his intellect and his interest in science with baseball. That summer, he went to the Texas Baseball Ranch in Houston run by Ron Wolforth, at the suggestion of his local pitching coach.

There he found that science and baseball were intertwined to maximize the potential of the body.

"It's a think tank," said Bauer's mother Kathy, a retired court reporter. "It's baseball MIT."

The place is an information community, where former players mingle with engineers all in the search of better methods to provide the body with the best education to succeed in baseball.

It's part of the new wave of baseball thinking that has old school baseball men looking for new jobs and Ivy Leaguers sitting in general manager positions. In about a six-month span, Bauer picked up over 10 miles on his fastball.

Though it's hard to prove, Bauer's ability to pick up the concepts being taught at a fast rate surely helped his progress.

"Everything I do, I learned there," he said.

Knowledge, however, could only take him so far. Armed with a workout program that's eight pages long, Bauer went to - well - work.

"The day I go out and pitch is the easiest day of my workout," he said.

He not only craves knowledge but he craves improvement. He's a perfectionist. Watching television one day, he stumbled upon a discussion of a pitcher going undefeated.

So he made that his goal. He would go undefeated in his high school career. He was putting in the hours and that would be his reward.

The first time he took the mound on varsity, after being called up during his sophomore year, he got pounded, 7-0.

"It was a setback," he said.

Ultra competitive, there's no smile on his face as he talks about that game.

"I don't want to go through that again," Bauer said. "It's what motivates me to work out."

Even after wins, Bauer isn't rah-rah. He always thinks he can do better, so the loss crushed him, and yet made him more determined.

"Trevor doesn't like losing," Warren said. "He took it as a challenge."

"To say the least," added Kathy.

He would not lose again.

In his junior season he went 12-0 with a 1.07 earned-run average, with 106 strikeouts against 15 walks and four shutouts.

Those numbers were produced by someone who Warren doesn't even think is a natural athlete.

Those numbers that had the scouts drooling didn't come from a 6-5, 200 pound beast, but from a 6-foot, slender right-hander.

The training, which is specific to small muscle groups in the body, and ditches the old mentality of bench presses and long runs created those numbers.

The work ethic and the focus created those numbers.

"Trevor has athletic talent but he's a trained athlete," Warren said.

But now it's time to move on. The accomplishments are fine and dandy, but Bauer needs something new to try. His mind is racing and he needs stimulation.

He enjoyed his time in high school, but that chapter is over. There's no new obstacles to face. There's nothing new to learn at this level, both in the classroom and on the field.

The All-SCV Baseball Player of the Year has his sights set on the future.

"I think I'm ready for the next challenge," Bauer said.

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