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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fantasy baseball: Should we believe the Trevor Bauer hype?

Long term, the answer to the above question is easy.

The Diamondbacks' 21-year-old super prospect is a combined 11-1 with a 2.23 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 93 innings in Double- and Triple-A this season.

He entered the year as Baseball America's No. 9 prospect, and his stock has only climbed since.

Yes, Trevor Bauer is legit, especially in the fantasy world in which we leave -- one that loves power arms and low earned-run averages.

Bauer's value strictly for this season is a much more difficult subject to tackle.

The right-hander will make his big-league debut Thursday at Atlanta. In deeper leagues, he would seem to be a must-start. Even if Bauer struggles some, he should be an adequate source of strikeouts.

In 10- and 12-team mixed leagues in which you might only start a handful of pitchers per week, Bauer should only be an option -- at least until he proves otherwise -- when the matchups are favorable.

As ridiculous as his 2012 numbers are, there is one glaring red flag, at least when it comes to his short-term value.

Bauer walked a combined 46 batters in 93 innings in the minors this season. In his brief career since he was selected third overall by Arizona in 2011, he has averaged 4.6 walks per nine innings down on the farm.

Yes, he's raw. Yes, he can be lights-out.

But as we've seen over and over, pitching at the big-league level is a much different animal, and Bauer's walk numbers suggest he is far from a finished product.

If you're in a daily league and have already acquired Bauer on the waiver wire, I'd play him.

For him to have significant value the rest of the season, he might have to be very good, very soon, since Arizona's starting rotation is pretty deep.

Trevor Cahill (6-5, 3.47 ERA), Ian Kennedy (a 21-game winner in 2011 who has struggled some this season) and Wade Miley (9-3, 2.19 ERA) aren't going anywhere.

For Bauer to remain in the rotation all season, he would have to take the place of Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44 ERA), whose shoulder injury allowed Bauer to get the call from Triple-A, or Daniel Hudson, a 16-game winner last season who has been awful for much of 2012. Hudson left Tuesday's game with tightness in his forearm.

Combine Hudson's latest ailment with Saunders' shoulder injury, and Bauer might not be going anywhere this year.

In keeper leagues, he's a gem.

In leagues in which all that matters is this year, Bauer's role is much more unclear -- though it's always better to err with a flame-thrower than a Josh Tomlin.

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