How Trevor Bauer perfected his craft at Hart High, UCLA

Newhall Hart pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers during a game against Westlake on May 15, 2008.
(Austin Knoblauch / Los Angeles Times)

Trevor Bauer is coming home to join the Dodgers, back with family, friends and fans who saw him blossom as a pitcher at Newhall Hart High and UCLA. He refused to settle for being ordinary and aimed to be the best of the best by using an exceptional work ethic to pursue his passion, according to those who watched him mature.

It showed in his pursuit to perfect pitch after pitch and develop throwing techniques and routines some scoffed at during his teenage years. He’d spend summers in searing 95-degree heat working on his craft at a Texas baseball camp.

His Hart High coach, Jim Ozella, said Friday that in his now 40 seasons of high school coaching, he never had a pitcher come as close to perfection in a single season as Bauer did as a 17-year-old junior in 2008.

He went 12-0 with an 0.79 ERA and was throwing a 92-mph fastball. He had 16 strikeouts against West Torrance. In what turned out to be his final high school game, he shut out Moreno Valley Canyon Springs 4-0 in a playoff game that lasted about 90 minutes.

Then Bauer walked away. He was bored with high school and enrolled at UCLA in January 2009.


“I had been ready to move on for a while,” he said at the time.

The Dodgers lurked in the background while free agent Trevor Bauer courted various suitors. Their patience paid off when he signed a three-year deal with L.A.

Feb. 5, 2021

Bauer had straight A’s and a scholarship to UCLA. He could become an engineer if he wanted.

“He’s as good as there is out there,” UCLA coach John Savage said at the time.

Bauer had all the quirks and eccentricities you’d see in the coming years. His confidence in himself would never waver.

In the spring of 2009, Savage had two stellar freshmen pitchers in Bauer and Gerrit Cole from Orange Lutheran. Bauer was the NL Cy Young Award in 2020 and Cole was AL runner-up in 2019 and would sign a nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees after the 2019 season.

Bauer and Cole led UCLA to the College World Series as sophomores in 2010. The Bruins lost in the championship series to South Carolina. By his junior year at UCLA, Bauer was as dominant as his junioryear in high school, going 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA. Cole went No. 1 in the MLB draft to the Pirates and Bauer went No. 3 to the Diamondbacks.

By signing Bauer to a three-year, $102-million contract, the Dodgers are convinced he will continue to perform at the highest level.

“He has the best of both worlds, a great contract and playing with the defending world champions,” Ozella said. “ I’d say his personality fits perfectly in Los Angeles. He’s gregarious, outgoing, very intelligent, a hard-working guy.”