Who is Jake Bauers, know the man called to replace injured Aaron Judge in 2023?

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When Aaron Judge went down with an injury, the Yankees called up Triple-A star Jake Bauers to fill the offensive vacuum.

The 27-year-old player was once considered one of baseball’s top prospects, but Jake Bauers struggled to establish himself with the Rays, Indians, and Mariners before landing with the Yankees. From 2018-2021, he made 1126 at-bats for the three different clubs, batting .213/.307/.348. Jake Bauers signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees in December. He started his season in Triple-A.

In his first 87 at-bats with the RailRiders, Jake Bauers has shown great promise. Following a change in his swing path and approach at the plate, there has been a big jump in his statistics. He has a batting line of .319/.460/.812 with nine home runs, five doubles, a triple, five stolen bases, a walk ratio of 20.7%, and a strikeout ratio of 18.4%. Manager Aaron Boone told that the team was keeping a watch on Jake Bauers because he had “definitely caught our eye” as they looked for ways to get the Yankees out of their offensive slump.

The early career of Jake Bauers

Jakob Christopher Bauers was born on October 6, 1995, in Newport Beach, California. He played amateur baseball in the Ocean View Little League and a Huntington Beach, California-based travel club. After four years of baseball at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Jake Bauers led the Vikings to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 final at Dodger Stadium as a senior in 2013. He accepted a collegiate baseball scholarship to the University of Hawaii.

After he was drafted in 2013 by the San Diego Padres, Jake Bauers played for the Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners, and the Tampa Bay Rays. He had many roles with the New York Yankees, including first base, outfield, and DH. Jake Bauers uses his left hand for throwing and for hitting.

Bauers with the Padres

San Diego chose Jake Bauers in the seventh round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. Overall, he was selected 208th. He began in the ranks of the Arizona Padres and had a batting average of .282 in his 47 games. Jake Bauers was a member of the 2014 Fort Wayne TinCaps, a team in the Midwest League’s Class A. He hit .296 in 112 games, with eight home runs and 64 RBI. For the postseason, he was selected as an All-Star.

Bauers with the Rays

Tampa Bay acquired the player on December 19, 2014, as part of a three-way trade. Jake Bauers was with the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits in 2015 and batted .272 with 11 homers and 74 RBIs while appearing in 128 games.

In 2016, he stayed with the Biscuits accumulating a .274 batting average, 14 home runs, and 78 RBIs in 135 games. Next season, Jake Bauers moved to the Class AAA Durham Bulls and started all 132 games hitting .263, with 13 HR, 63 RBI, and 20 SB. This led the Rays to include him in their 40-man roster after the season.

Jake Bauers made his MLB debut with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 7, 2018. Two days later, he had his first hit — a double against the Seattle Mariners. Jake Bauers hit his first career walk-off home run against the Yankees on June 24, 2018. He ended the season with .201, 11 home runs, and 46 RBIs in 96 games.

Bauers in Cleveland

A three-way trade landed Jake Bauers in Cleveland on December 13, 2018. After a hit for the cycle on June 14 against the Tigers, he was sent to the Triple-A on August 1, 2019. He hit .233 with 11 home runs in 100 games played. He played there in 2020. The next year witnessed Jake Bauers’ batting struggles that resulted in his removal from the 40-man roster.

Bauers with the Mariners

Seattle signed Jake Bauers on June 10, 2021. In his first at-bat for the Mariners, he got a single against Detroit. His home run on September 19 against Kansas City went 460 feet. Since the 2015 season. Jake Bauers ended the season with .220, two homers, and 13 RBIs in 72 games before becoming a free agent.

Cincinnati signed Bauers

On December 20, 2021, Jake Bauers joined the Cincinnati Reds. His 2022 season was in Triple-A scoring .135, .276, .271 and 12 RBIs. He was sent to the New York Yankees on June 3, 2022.

What Jake Bauers brings with him?

In 2022, Jake Bauers played 32 games for the RailRiders and hit .226/.352/.406 with 5 home runs and 16 RBI. His performance led to the Yankees re-signing him on December 13.

Jake Bauers has shown enough offensive promise to be worth a look. He hit .319/.460/.812 in his first 21 Triple-A games and this included nine home runs. Bauers hasn’t played in the majors since 2021 and has a career of .655 OPS in the majors as a total. But with Aaron Judge out and the Yankees needing more output from left field, he might see significant time in the outfield.

Jake Bauers has spent almost twice as much of his career at first base (5151 games) as he has in the outfield (2587). This year, though, he has played 91 innings on the outfield corners compared to just 40 at first base.

The team’s general manager, Brian Cashman, has transformed the left field into a futility clinic after losing Andrew Benintendi to the White Sox in free agency and then doing nothing to replace him. Again, Giancarlo Stanton has been injured, and Aaron Judge might follow him to the IL. The Yankees’ starting lineup is now about as scary as a pillow fight.

The Yankees’ left fielders have struggled too far in 2023, ranking at the bottom of the league with a hitting line of .209/.273/.308. Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Hicks, and Franchy Cordero haven’t done much for the Yankees while lined up in the left field, and Willie Calhoun hasn’t done anything in the right field or as a designated hitter, either.

At least Jake Bauers is making an impact and is apt to replace Aaron Hicks. He is getting a promotion after hitting .319 with nine home runs, 20 RBI, and 21 RBI for the RailRiders. He was tied for second in the league in homers, eighth in RBI, and 22nd in average before the weekend.

“At this point, I’m going to do whatever they need me to do, whether that’s sit in the hotel for a few days or sit in the dugout,” Jake Bauers said.

When the Yankees got him in a trade in June 2022, he was hitting.135 for the Triple-A Reds in Louisville. Before being sent to Scranton, Jake Bauers hit .417 in 13 Grapefruit League games with the Yankees this spring.

The Yankees “kind of revived my career,” Bauers said earlier this month.

Now that Jake Bauers is with the Yankees, he has a second shot to prove himself and maybe secure a permanent roster place. Bauers isn’t a household name yet, but he’s shown improvement as his career has progressed. He has the potential to be a major asset for the Yankees this year and in the years to come.

Pinstripes debut in 2023

Jake Bauers’ 2023 season with the New York Yankees was marked by a mix of promising moments and challenges, reflecting his journey from a minor league signee to a significant contributor at the major league level. After re-signing with the Yankees on a minor league contract on December 14, Bauers showcased his potential with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. In 21 games, he posted impressive statistics: a .304 batting average, .488 on-base percentage, and .797 slugging percentage, with nine home runs, 20 RBIs, and five stolen bases. This performance earned him a promotion to the Yankees’ active roster on April 29.

Bauers’ major league tenure in 2023 was a testament to his resilience and adaptability. Despite being considered a Quad-A player—someone who excels in Triple-A but struggles to find success in the majors—he managed to secure a significant role with the Yankees, primarily due to injuries and underperformance within the team’s roster. In 84 games and 272 plate appearances, Bauers hit 12 home runs and recorded a .202/.279/.413 slash line, contributing to an 89 wRC+ and a .297 weighted on-base average (wOBA). However, his performance was valued at -0.5 fWAR, reflecting the challenges he faced in translating his minor league success to the major leagues consistently.

Bauers’ season was not without its highlights, including his first multi-homer game on June 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, demonstrating his power-hitting capability. However, his offensive production was uneven, highlighted by a dramatic encounter in his first game for the Yankees, where he crashed into a wall making a catch, an incident that could have significantly shortened his tenure with the team. Fortunately, Bauers recovered quickly and returned to contribute, including hitting a home run in his return game on May 3.

Despite his power, Bauers struggled defensively, particularly in the outfield, where he logged 367.2 innings. With a natural inclination towards first base, where he has over 5000 career professional innings compared to 2500 in the outfield, his outfield performance was marked by -3 Outs Above Average, reflecting defensive struggles.

Concluding his season with the Yankees, Bauers was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on November 17, 2023, in exchange for minor-league outfielders Jace Avina and Brian Sánchez. This move ended Bauers’ stint with the Yankees, a season that, while marked by notable achievements and contributions, also highlighted the challenges of transitioning and sustaining success at the major league level.

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Standard Batting

4 Yrs412139812191492576033914018121563920.2110.3020.3610.663804401082121
162 Game Avg.16255047959101241155575611540.2110.3020.3610.6638017343150
Baseball Reference

Career Graph

Total Zone Runs as 1B (s.1953)
2021 AL 2 (5th)
Baseball Reference

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