During an incredible Spring Training, Jake Bauers had Tampa Bay Rays fans dreaming of what could be. With a perfect lefty swing that evoked comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr, it was easy to imagine that he would be a part of the Rays present and future.
Sent to Durham to start the season, Bauers struggled. Given his performance in March, it would be easy to imagine that he was feeling disappointment at being sent down to the minors. If so, it showed in his production, as he barely hit above the Mendoza line and showed little power during April.
Since then, Bauers has gotten back on track. Although he is not hitting tape measure home runs seemingly every day, Bauers is back to his normal level of production. He has improved to a .278/.380/.433 batting line, hitting seven homers and 18 doubles. He also leads the Rays minor leagues with 41 walks, as he continues to show an impressive batting eye.
Although he has spent most of this season in left, Bauers may well be the Rays first baseman of the future. At just 21 years old, the former seventh round pick by the Padres may find his way to the majors come September. As Logan Morrison is a free agent after this season, that presumed callup could be an audition for an every day role in 2018.
After a slow start, Jake Bauers is back to what the Rays expected. If he continues to heat up, he may find himself in Tampa Bay by the end of the year.