Bauer, 21, will make his Major League debut tonight at the Atlanta Braves. The D-backs’ first-round, third-overall pick is the first of the top-10 selections from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to debut. At 21 years, 164 days, he is the third youngest pitcher to make his first Major League start in a D-backs’ uniform behind Edgar Gonzalez (20 years, 98 days on June 1, 2003 at San Diego Padres) and Oscar Villarreal (21 years, 127 days on April 8, 2003 at Los Angeles Dodgers).
Bauer most recently pitched for the Aces on Sunday at Salt Lake City, throwing 2.2 innings with a run on 2 hits and 2 walks with 5 strikeouts before being pulled in consideration for tonight’s start. In 16 combined starts between Reno and Double-A Mobile, he was 11-1 with a 2.23 ERA (23 ER in 93.0 IP) and .220 opponents average with 48 walks and 116 strikeouts. Among all minor leaguers (full-season leagues only), he ranked tied for first in wins and second in strikeouts. In 8 starts at Reno, he was 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA (14 ER in 44.2), 22 walks and 56 strikeouts and held opponents scoreless once, to 1 run three times and to 2 runs twice. In 8 starts at Mobile, he was 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA (9 ER in 48.1 IP) with 26 walks and 60 strikeouts while holding opponents scoreless 4 times and to 1 run twice.
In his first Spring Training with the club, Bauer appeared in 4 games (3 starts) and went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA (4 ER in 10.0 IP) and .297 opponents average with a walk and 9 strikeouts. He entered 2012 ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com as the D-backs’ No. 1 prospect. In 2011 as junior at UCLA, he earned the Golden Spikes Award and National Player of the Year honors by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
Bauer will wear No. 17.
Bell, 25, hit .173 (9-for-52) with 2 doubles, a homer and 4 RBI in 21 games since being recalled on May 21. Prior to joining the D-backs, he was hitting .381 (37-for-97) with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 30 RBI in 26 games with the Aces. He was acquired from the Orioles on April 21 for a player to be named (Mike Belfiore sent to Baltimore on May 12).