How Trevor Bauer Built One Of The Filthiest Curveballs in Baseball

Trevor Bauer has decimated hitters with his curveball. Here's how he discovered the perfect way to throw it.

Trevor Bauer is a Cincinnati Red.

The former All-Star, who currently leads the MLB in innings pitched, brings with him one of the most devastating pitches in baseball. Fangraphs ranks Bauer's curveball as the eighth-best among any pitcher, and he deploys it a whopping 20.6% of the time.

Bauer with the 12 K's and video game caliber curveball today. #RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/afNf8HYmew

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Trevor Bauer is a Cincinnati Red.

The former All-Star, who currently leads the MLB in innings pitched, brings with him one of the most devastating pitches in baseball. Fangraphs ranks Bauer's curveball as the eighth-best among any pitcher, and he deploys it a whopping 20.6% of the time.

It's a filthy pitch. So, how did Bauer develop his devastating breaking ball?

Driveline Baseball—the Seattle-based facility where Bauer trains during the offseason—had a lot to do with it. The facility preaches "data-driven" training, and they gather that data via tools such as a "gold standard" motion capture laboratory and advanced pitch tracking technologies. Driveline is the perfect playground for the analytical Bauer, who majored in mechanical engineering at UCLA.

"Anytime I can cross the two over and use the scientific method to improve myself as a baseball player, I try to do just that," Bauer told SportTechie.com on his relationship with Driveline. With the help of Driveline's technology, which features cameras that capture 2,000+ frames a second, Bauer discovered that using a knuckle-curve grip allowed him to add more revolutions per minute to his curveball, enhancing its movement. From SportTechie:

Bauer said his original (curveball) curved at 2,850 average rpm, a rate that fell to 2,450 after he changed his pitching mechanics; sometimes his index finger would protrude into the ball path and deflect the spin axis and hinder the spin rate. Using the high-speed camera, Bauer learned the knuckle-curve grip he uses now, spinning a 2,400 rpm pitch early in counts as a get-me-over strike and dialing it up as high as 2,800 for a late-count whiff. "All the data says that for every 100 rpm's you get on the curveball, swing-and-miss rate increases," Bauer said.

Bauer discussed the change in this clip from last summer:

It's always fascinating to hear a guy like Bauer breakdown all the trial-and-error that goes into building a devastating pitch.

Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty

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Topics: BASEBALL | PITCHER | CLEVELAND INDIANS | PITCHING MECHANICS | TREVOR BAUER | MLB PLAYOFFS