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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No. 5, Jake Bauers

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The next guy on our list has already earned himself a heap of praise for having achieved as much as he has. Jake Bauers may only be 22 years old but he is on the verge of an MLB callup.

No.5, 1B Jakob Christopher Bauers, 22 years old

Born: October 6th, 1995 in Newport Beach, CA

Height/Weight: 6’1” 195 lbs Bats/Throws: L/L

Signed: by the Padres after being selected in the 7th rd of the 2013 draft for $240,000

Twitter handle: @JakeBauers11

Twitter profile statement: “Tampa Bay Rays 1B/OF - What We Think We Become”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 15th best Padres prospect post-2014
  • Ranked as the 20th best Midwest League prospect for 2014
  • Ranked as the 4th best Rays prospect post-2015
  • Ranked as the 10th best Florida State League prospect for 2015
  • Ranked as the 78th best prospect in MLB post-2015
  • Ranked as the 4th best Rays prospect post-2016
  • Ranked as the 5th best Southern League prospect for 2016
  • Ranked as the 70th best prospect in MLB post-2016
  • Ranked as the 4th best Rays prospect post-2017
  • Ranked as the 19th best International League prospect for 2017
  • Ranked as the 45th best prospect in MLB post-2017

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 5th
  • Low: 6th

Jake Bauers: Abilities

  • Above-average hitting ability with patience at the plate
  • Solid present power with possibility of adding more
  • Much improved defensive abilities at 1B and in LF

Grades for ‘18 (Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Pwr: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Fld: 50 | Overall: 55

  • Abilities notes: Over time in the minors, Bauers has been able to improve his base-running by a significant margin. When he first arrived with the Rays, Bauers had a 35 run rating from MLB Pipeline and has improved that to a much more impactful 45.

Joined the Rays by way of....

A 3-way trade which saw the Rays ship 1B/OF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan, LHP Jose Castillo, and RHP Gerardo Reyes to the Padres in return for INF Trea Turner and RHP Joe Ross, and then shipped those two to the Nationals in return for OF Steven Souza Jr., C Rene Rivera, LHP Travis Ott, RHP Burch Smith, and Bauers.

Danny Russell had a write up on the trade available here.

Latest Transaction: optioned to Durham Bulls, March 11th, 2018.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • Ranked him as high as 3rd within the Rays system post-2015.
  • After the 2015 season, it seemed that Steve Pearce, Logan Morrison, Casey Gillaspie, Patrick Leonard, and Richie Shaffer were Bauers’ main competition at 1B. Goes to show how quickly and significantly that can change!
  • Jim Callis had Bauers listed among an impressive group of prospects he deemed “poised to surge” in 2015 — and he was correct on all counts!
  • Danny Russell and I had an intriguing conversation which led to a comparison of Bauers and ex-Cubs 1B Mark Grace.
  • In May of 2017, Asher Feltman of Minor League Ball noted that Bauers has been playing under pressure.
  • John Sickels had Bauers listed as 55th best MLB prospect pre-2017.
  • Most people are aware of Bauers’ abilities and performances in the regular season, but few know how well he’s performed in the playoffs and how much playoff experience he’s had (24 GP, 88 AB over five seasons). The most notable being 2017’s Durham Bulls Triple-A championship run that had him hit .378/.425/.541, good for a .966 OPS with four extra-base-hits and 1 SB in 37 AB.
  • JT Morgan took a look at his batted ball profile.
  • Bauers is always willing to give time to the fans and interacts with them on Twitter as well,


Jake Bauers 2017

GP 132
GP 132
PA 575
AB 486
Hits 128
Doubles 31
Triples 1
Home Runs 13
RBI 63
SB (CS) 20 (3)
AVG 0.263
OBP 0.368
SLG 0.412
OPS 0.779
BB% 13.6 %
SO% 19.5 %
ISO 0.148
BAbip 0.314
wOBA 0.352
wRC+ 120

Stats Notes: Bauers managed a fairy even OPS vs both LHP (.754) and RHP (.789). If there’s one area where we expect more out of Bauers going forward it’s his performance with RISP which had him manage only .193/.325/.267 over 135 AB in 2017.

Interesting Comparison: Adam Lind and Yonder Alonso

If you take a look at Adam and Jake, aside from the hair cut difference, you’d swear that they’re related. They’re both LHB of same size, and both head towards MLB having to play some 1B and LF despite fitting in best at 1B.

And how old was Lind when he broke into MLB? He was 22 years old. Bauers is expected to accomplish the same thing this season at the same age.

The unfortunate part of his comparison is that Lind was in High-A at 21 years old vice Double-A like Bauers. That makes a true comparison tough to accomplish, as Bauers was always facing much older competition.

Due to the tough comp with Lind, we can also take a look at how he compares to Alonso who is also a similar sized LHB 1B.

In a very similar number of ABs in 2010 (101 AB in AA), Alonso accomplished the following as compared to Bauers,

2010 Yonder: 9.9 % BB%, 16.3 % SO%, .820 OPS, .168 ISO, .363 wOBA, 123 wRC+

2017 Bauers: 13.6 % BB%, 19.5 % SO%, .779 OPS, .148 ISO, .352 wOBA, 120 wRC+

The difference? Bauers was a full two years younger than Alonso and spent the entire season in Triple-A, and that makes his performance that much more remarkable.

Therefore, it would be fair to say that if he continues to progress as expected, Bauers should be able to exceed what Alonso has accomplished and reach some of the heights that Lind accomplished. Many would also say he could exceed what both accomplished overall.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

To be completely honest, it took a while for Bauers to grow on me. When the Rays first obtained him, the speed and run factors had us looking at him only at 1B, and the power just didn’t seem impressive enough to warrant a full time role there.

Oh, how things have changed.

It only took a few seasons for Bauers to become one of our favourites as he always seemed to rise to any challenge and exceed expectations. Some of them expected, some of them not at all.

When it comes to the patience at the plate and his abilities to consistently drive the ball, we expected to see that from Bauers and to see it improve over time. That led to walk rates improving from 7.4 % with the Padres to a high of 13.6 % in 2017. At the same time, his ISO moved up from .092 in 2013 to .148 in 2017.

What most of us didn’t expect is to see his running ability improve so much, leading to an improvement from just 2 SB in 2013 to 10 SB in 2016 and 20 SB in 2017. The 2016 and 2017 improvements are especially notable because they allowed the Rays to send Bauers to the OF, spending time in both LF and RF to see if he could handle such a role. And handle it he did.

Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America noted that he received “good reports on his outfield play in the Arizona Fall League” and that “he runs well and took surprisingly good routes to the ball in AZ.” Those sentiments were replicated throughout his time spent in the OF, leaving little doubt that he could handle such an assignment if required.

And that leads us to his promotion from Triple-A to the majors in 2018. When will it take place, and where will Bauers play? Your guess is as good as ours, but most lean to before July and at 1B.

What I will tell you, however, is that there’s this kid... what’s his name again? Oh yeah, Brendan McKay. And there’s this other kid, Joe McCarthy. And there are all of these other OF prospects..... The point being, that nothing will be handed to Bauers and he’s going to have to earn his playing time and play well enough to keep it.

There’s no doubt the Rays could use Bauers’ bat in the lineup today, and there’s little doubt that he could work his way into either LF or 1B on this roster. So the initial assignment will be based on the highest need and best fit for the Rays based on their front office’s assessment.

What should be expected, however, is that once he arrives, he’s going to stay for the long haul. Just as he’s managed when promoted at each level of the minors, Bauers is able to rise to the occasion and perform at a very consistent productivity level. His patience and abilities at the plate will become an asset for the lineup, and if the power blooms as some expect it will, he could become a force in the middle of the lineup.

Jake Bauers: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list