22-Year-Old Outfielder – Tampa Bay Rays
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
If the ball stays juiced, Bauers could end up being one of the most underrated prospects in the minors. He has an elite approach and quality hit tool, which could lead to on-base percentages north of ...
Jake Bauers Contract Information:
Traded to the Rays in December of 2014.
Bauers was added to the Rays' 40-man roster Monday.
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Tampa Bay Rays Roster
MajorsAlvarado, Jose (P)
AAAAdames, Willy (SS)
AALowe, Brandon (2B)
A+Ciuffo, Nick (C)
ABurke, Brock (P)
RookieBetts, Chris (C)
Jake Bauers: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Bauers' 2016 numbers with Double-A Montgomery may not jump out at a glance, but considering his age relative to level, it was a highly successful campaign. The 21-year-old outfielder/first baseman's OBP represented a 41-point improvement over the number he generated in his 285-plate appearance sample at the Double-A level in 2015 -- a product of Bauers walking a career-high 73 times over 581 plate appearances (pushing his walk rate from 7.4 percent to 12.6 percent). He also showed an ability to make consistent contact, striking out at just a 15.3 percent clip. Bauers figures to start 2017 back at Montgomery, and whether he will stick at his corner infield spot or settle permanently in the outfield remains in question. He may have better overall long-term viability in the latter role, as the lefty hitter doesn't project to hit for elite power at the highest level, although there is still room for projection in that department.
Simply put, first base prospects have to hit a lot to make it in the big leagues. Nobody questions Bauers' hit tool, but forget plus power, he may not even have above-average power. Every now and then a player like James Loney or Casey Kotchman is able to carve out a career as a starting first baseman despite never hitting 20 home runs in a season, but it is a pretty rare feat. Additionally, those players are usually afterthoughts in fantasy. The fact that Bauers hit .276 in 285 plate appearances at Double-A as a 19-year-old is incredibly impressive, but that does not change his long-term outlook. He played the outfield in the Arizona Fall League, where his offensive profile would be a better fit, but it remains to be seen if he has the ability to handle an outfield corner in the upper levels. If he remains a first baseman, he will be a low-upside option, due to the lack of projectable power, but he becomes more interesting in dynasty leagues if there is a permanent transition to the outfield.