Closing Time: Trevor Bauer joining the elite

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer is finally living up to his potential (AP Photo).

• Trevor Bauer’s career-year continued Wednesday, when he struck out another dozen batters, giving him 11 Ks or more in each of his past four outings, a span that’s included three road starts and the other against the defending World Series champs. Bauer now sits with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP with a 121:31 K:BB ratio over 93.2 innings this season. His 5-5 record has been unlucky, although Bauer has allowed just five homers after surrendering 25 last season (thanks to a 10% drop in HR/FB rate). He’s averaged a career-high 94.6 mph with his fastball yet is throwing the pitch less than ever, instead relying more on his increasingly effective slider. Bauer is also posting career-best marks in BB% (8.0), Hard Hit% (31.8) and SwStr% (13.0), the latter of which ranks No. 12 among starters. Bauer is quickly becoming one of the most valuable pitchers in fantasy baseball.

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• Juan Soto hit another two homers, making him the youngest to go deep twice in a game since Andruw Jones and putting him on pace to join some remarkable company. His second home run Wednesday proved to be a game-winner and went 436 feet off a left-hander. Soto is 19 years old and has a .447 OBP with more walks (12) than strikeouts (11). Unreal.

• Luke Weaver allowed four runs over 5.1 innings, which actually marked his longest outing over his last four. His ERA now sits at 4.52, and he hasn’t won since May 11 and would likely be out of a rotation spot if not for Alex Reyes’ injury. Weaver’s velocity has been just fine, and expect him to start bouncing back soon, but he’s been a big disappointment so far.

• It’s pretty rare to see a 21-year-old who wasn’t called up until the end up April and has been hitting mostly ninth somehow ranked in the top-150 by mid-June, but so is the case with Gleyber Torres. I recently engaged trade talks with a Torres owner, who responded by saying he treated the rookie “as a first or second round player.” I didn’t argue back.

• Meanwhile, fellow shortstop Trevor Story recorded his fifth straight multi-hit game Wednesday, a span in which he’s batted .571 with three homers and eight RBI. He’s on pace to record 34 homers and 20 steals with 119 RBI. Story or Torres rest of season is a pretty good debate.

• Sonny Gray lasted just five innings with one strikeout in a no-decision against the Nationals, as his incredible struggles at home continued, where he now sports a 7.22 ERA and 1.87 WHIP this season. He’s allowed seven homers with 21 walks over 33.2 innings at Yankee Stadium in 2018, as what looked like a poor match on paper has been. Gray is still owned in nearly 75 percent of leagues.

• Ryon Healy went 3-for-4 and homered for the fourth time in three games. He’s up to 13 home runs on the season and is still available in more than 75 percent of leagues. Teammate Mitch Haniger hit this walk-off HR in the rain, giving him three big flies over the last two games and an MLB-high 11 homers during the seventh inning or later this season. The Mariners sport the fourth-best wRC+ (109) in baseball.

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