Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Rising prospect Bauers to get a shot at 1B job

A title winner at Triple-A, 22-year-old aims to impress at Rays camp
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- One of the pleasures of the Hot Stove season is thinking about the young talent that will be in camp once the doors to Spring Training open.

Rays fans need look no further than Jake Bauers to find a player to get excited about. Expectations have never been higher for the talented 22-year-old first baseman, who ranks as the Rays' No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

ST. PETERSBURG -- One of the pleasures of the Hot Stove season is thinking about the young talent that will be in camp once the doors to Spring Training open.

Rays fans need look no further than Jake Bauers to find a player to get excited about. Expectations have never been higher for the talented 22-year-old first baseman, who ranks as the Rays' No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Bauers opened eyes last spring, his first with the Major League club. By the time he was reassigned to Minor League camp, he had a .371 average, three doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBIs. Included in that collection were some tape-measure blasts.

At this juncture, the Rays' intentions for first base in 2018 are unknown. Brad Miller is a likely candidate, and they could also sign a first baseman, but Bauers will get a shot.

Video: Bauers on success in 2017, looking forward to 2018

Bauers wants to avoid thinking about possible scenarios and his future, but added that it's tough due to social media.

"I just want to go in with the same mindset as last year, which was just go in, have fun, be around the guys, try to acclimate as much as possible, be as comfortable as possible, then beyond that, whatever happens, happens," Bauers said.

Bauers feels that Spring Training will be different after being in camp a year ago.

"Last year, I definitely didn't know what to expect going in, so it was just go in, be quiet, and observe, just kind of see how everything works," Bauers said. "But this year, going in, I definitely want to try and fit in a little more. Be a part of the team a little bit. It helps knowing a lot of the guys already, and a lot of the staff."

Following his Spring Training success, Bauers struggled initially at Triple-A Durham, hitting .229 with a homer and eight RBIs in 83 April at-bats. Eventually, he got acclimated, finishing at .263 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Video: Cash on development of Bauers and Adames

Bauers allowed that last season was "the first time I was facing a lot of big league guys."

"You're probably seeing at least one a night in Triple-A, so they know how to pitch a little bit better and obviously, they're going to be better and better as you go up," Bauers said. "So having success by the end of the year kind of helps your confidence knowing, all right, here's some adversity, I dealt with it. I can adjust, so why can't I do it at the next level?"

Bauers is one of many talented Rays prospects who played an integral role in Durham's 2017 Triple-A championship. He noted that there is a positive vibe throughout the system.

"I know I'm excited, and I think it's the same thing with all of the other young guys coming up," Bauers said. "We're all excited about the opportunities that are kind of unfolding for us. And I think we all know what we're capable of. We all know how to win, we won a championship in Triple-A last year, so I think all of our mindsets are, 'Why can't we all win together at the next level?'"

Exactly what the Rays are asking.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Bauers