As many 18-year-old kids begin their journey off into the real world as colleges open their doors to a new class of Freshmen, Jake Bauers will be finishing up his first full year in professional baseball. The 18-year-old first baseman was selected by the Padres in the 7th round of the 2013 MLB draft and turned down the chance to go to college and instead chose to play baseball for the Padres. So far it looks like he made the right choice. Despite being the youngest position player in the Midwest league, Bauers was named the league’s top first baseman.
Bauers wasn’t the prototypical power-hitting first baseman. He valued getting on base more than anything. He has the highest OBP and the second highest batting average among the qualified Midwest league first basemen. He is also led the league in hitting in the months of June and July. He has been a little lacking in the power department, only going deep 8 times, but the average amount of home runs hit for Midwest league first basemen this year is 11 so he’s not too far off pace.
He’s also impressed on defense. While I myself haven’t had the opportunity to watch him, according to Bill Center of MLB.com, he’s been receiving rave reviews. He’s committed 12 errors in 107 games on the worst defensive team in the Midwest league. When his team has committed 29 more errors then the next closest team, Bauers has likely seen some crazy throws to first that he’s had to corral. If Center is to be believed, and there’s no reason not to, then he’s probably handled it pretty well.
For an 18-year-old, this is quite an honor for Bauers. At 6’1″ and 195 lbs., he has plenty of room to grow and fill out as he ages and grows into an even more dynamic hitter. He’s already shown he can hit at an exceptionally high level, and the power could come along. If they weren’t already, the Padres are definitely now excited about the future of Jake Bauers.