"I might be the high guy on him," Francona said. "I think this guy is going to be what we're looking for. He just has to develop, and sometimes that takes a while to do."
Bauer -- acquired from Arizona within the complicated three-team, nine-player trade also involving Cincinnati in December -- will be making his third start of the season for the Indians. He also served as a spot starter on April 6 (at Tampa Bay) and May 1 (versus Philadelphia), putting his potential on display, while also showing that there is plenty of room for growth.
Across 10 innings with the Tribe, Bauer (1-1, 2.70 ERA) has allowed just three hits and held batters to a .097 average, but the young righty has also issued 13 walks compared to seven strikeouts. In four starts at Triple-A, Bauer has gone 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 10 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
Earlier this week, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti was in Columbus, Ohio, where he sat down with Bauer to discuss bouncing between the Minors and Majors. Cleveland wanted to make sure that the 22-year-old prospect did not feel the trips to the big leagues were getting in the way of his development.
"Chris was just down there the last three days and visited with him for a pretty long time," Francona said. "Part of the conversation was, I think he asked, 'Do you think this hinders your development?' Because that's the last thing we want to do. And he was all on board with this. As long as he can handle it, I think it's good for his development, as long as he doesn't view it as an interruption."
Throughout his professional career, Bauer's clubhouse manner and unique pregame routine has been well documented and much critiqued. During his time with the D-backs, Bauer was criticized for being stubborn. Francona said Bauer's mentality and approach reminds him a bit of a young Josh Beckett.
"He's a little stubborn," Francona said of Bauer. "But I think there will come a day when we're glad he is. I think there's a part of this kid that knows he's good and that he's going to be good. There's just some development left. ... I think what gets hidden is he's a pretty fierce competitor."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.