His evaluation of his start to the 2012 season? A measly six out of 10.
"I really haven't been nearly as good as I know I am or can be," Bauer said. "I have a lot of room for improvement."
The only way the D-backs' top prospect could have been any better Sunday would have been if he had been perfect. Bauer (6-1) allowed a season-low one hit over seven innings for Double-A Mobile in an 11-0 rain-shortened shutout of Jacksonville. He also struck out five and walked five.
The lone hit came in the Suns' first at-bat when leadoff hitter Jake Smolinski smacked a single to left field. Bauer did not allow a runner again until the fourth and only one opponent reached scoring position the whole night.
But fitting with his typical harsh self-criticism, the third overall pick of the 2011 Draft, who is known for his wide pitching repertoire, was down on his outing as a whole.
"I had good -- no, decent -- fastball command," Bauer said. "My changeup wasn't great. I thought my slider was terrible, and my curveball was horrible until I found it later in the game. ... I just got so [mad] about it that I figured I should just throw it as hard as I can, and that seemed to work."
Sunday's otherwise stellar outing came one start after the 21-year-old surrendered a season-high five earned runs on 5 2/3 innings to Mississippi on May 1. That start represented the second time in six starts this season that he allowed more than one tally. Surprisingly however, Bauer stated that he was more satisfied with that outing than his most recent one.
"There were more balls hit hard [Sunday] than there were back then," he said. "Just from being out there, I think I actually enjoyed that last outing more. I just laughed it off afterward. They hit one ball hard in the whole game. Today, I thought they hit a bunch hard, but it was a soft one that got through. What're you going to do?"
If there was anything that Bauer was pleased with Sunday, it was the fact that he had earned his sixth win. After becoming the second pitcher in the Minor Leagues to reach six wins after Frisco's Barret Loux, he gave his ability to help Mobile win a nine out of 10. Still, MLB.com's No. 8 prospect acknowledged he has bigger goals to reach, and the man who is his own harshest critic won't be satisfied until he achieves them all.
"I look at it as a long-term process," Bauer said. "I'm really looking three, five, 10 years down the road and trying to play for that. There are a few people out there who say, 'He throws too many pitches. He needs to take some away and only focus on three or four.'
"But I'm looking at my career as a whole. I think using my slider or my reverse now will make me better down the line. I still don't think I've reached my potential."
D-backs' No. 5 prospect Matt Davidson went 2-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI. Mobile left fielder hit a three-run homer in the fifth and finished 2-for-3 with two runs.