FORT MYERS, Fla. -- You could say Jake Bauers' sweet swing has caught the manager's eye."He's got a natural swing," Kevin Cash said. "Sweet-swinging lefty. I have no idea what Jake looked like when he was younger coming up, Little League, high school, all that stuff. But I'll bet he's
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- You could say Jake Bauers' sweet swing has caught the manager's eye.
"He's got a natural swing," Kevin Cash said. "Sweet-swinging lefty. I have no idea what Jake looked like when he was younger coming up, Little League, high school, all that stuff. But I'll bet he's had that similar swing his entire life.
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"Nobody's ever changed it or tinkered with it because it's so natural. His hands and bat get into that slot -- I'm not comparing him to Ken Griffey Jr. -- but real smooth swing like that. Effortless."
Bauers, who ranks as the No. 76 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, said his swing came to him naturally.
"Honestly, I've kind of had the same swing my whole life growing up," Bauers said. "I give credit to my dad for that a lot. He never tried to make me do things a certain way. It was always about feel. Chances are, if you feel good, it looks good. When I'm feeling good in there, that usually translates."
Bauers, 21, hit .274 with 14 home runs and 78 RBIs last season with Double-A Montgomery, where he played the corner-outfield spots as well as first base. He offered a peek at what he can do on Tuesday when he hit a grand slam in the Rays' 19-0 win over the Twins.
In addition to liking Bauers' swing, Cash likes his confidence.
"He is confident, that's great," said Cash, offering a chuckle.
Bauers offered, "If you're not confident in what you do, then why are you doing it?"
"I feel like every time you step up to the plate, you have to do the best that you can," Bauers said. "You're going to obviously get the result you want. Because if you don't believe that, then chances are it's not going to happen too often."
Bauers will likely make the jump to Triple-A Durham this season, then anything can happen for the native of Newport Beach, Calif. For now, he's enjoying the thrill of taking part in his first Major League camp.
"It's awesome," he said. "It's been an awesome experience so far. I tell my dad every day that I'm having a blast. It's everything I wanted it to be, and everything I thought it would be. It's been an awesome learning experience, and I'm just trying to soak in every second."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.