MadFriars' Interview: Jake Bauers

Jake Bauers was drafted in the seventh round of this year's draft out of Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California by the Padres. Only 17, Bauers turned down a scholarship to the beaches of the University of Hawaii to sign with San Diego and sweat in the dessert in the Arizona League.

He was considered one of the better prep hitters in Southern California and most scouts have raved about his compact left-handed swing that generates remarkable power. The six-foot-one 195 lbs. first baseman/outfielder absolutely dominated the Sunset League with a .571 batting average and 10 home runs in his senior year.

After signing with the Padres he reported to Surprise, Arizona where after initially struggling in his first few weeks he has started to hit with his batting average rising nearly 100 points since July 27.

Along with second baseman Josh VanMeter, third baseman Dustin Peterson and shortstop Franchy Cordero the infield that we are seeing now in the AZL could be the core of San Diego's development going forward.

What was the big reason that you decided to turn pro instead of going to the University of Hawaii?

Jake Bauers: Just the opportunity to chase my dream. I'm going to get an opportunity to play every day and if you go to school you have to focus on so many things. Also the contract included the scholarship program so if I decide to go back to school its paid for.

A lot of guys that are drafted where you are played all four years on the varsity but you didn't make the varsity until your junior year. How were you able to improve as much as you have up until now?

Jake Bauers: It was all mental for me. My swing was always there and I improved by not worrying about previous at-bats. My freshman year if I struck out it would bother me for the next few times at the plate.

You've only played first and DH so far. I think you have played some outfield in the past. Any plans to go out there too?

Jake Bauers: I haven't really heard anything yet but I would definitely be interested.

We haven't interviewed many players that come straight out of high school and play in the AZL. You're from a nice beach community with great weather and now you are playing in 100 degree plus heat in Phoenix. How do you adjust to that?

Jake Bauers: The first two or three weeks it was just brutal. Now you are kind of used to it. Wake up and yes, it's going to be over 100 degrees. You just have push through it.

You had nothing but success in high school, hitting well over .400 in your junior year and over .500 your senior year. When you turned pro you had some struggles initially. I know its much better competition but how do you adjust to that mentally?

Jake Bauers: I went in knowing it was going to be different and it was much more of an adjustment than I thought. But when things weren't going that well I knew that if I kept working hard I was going to hit.

You have to have confidence in your abilities.

What has been the biggest adjustment to the pros so far?

Jake Bauers: You have to focus on every pitch. If you have a bad swing and you are thinking about it during the next pitch the pitcher is going to blow that fastball by you.

Any surprises?

Jake Bauers: Not really, it's just been a lot of fun. Not many people that are seventeen years old are getting a chance to do this. I'm having a great time.

How much wood have you hit with in the past?

Jake Bauers: It wasn't really a big factor. Every summer I always hit with wood, so it wasn't that big of an adjustment.

What is the biggest part of your game you plan on working on in the off-season?

Jake Bauers: Speed and strength. I need to get stronger and faster.

In previous years the signing deadline was in mid-August so many times high school players like yourself would not sign until nearly the end of the season.

How much do you think playing in the Arizona League has helped you to prepare for spring training in 2014?

Jake Bauers: It's been a big help. I know exactly what I need to do to prepare for next season and a much better idea of what to expect when I come into spring next year. Where I'm going to really hit and show what I can do.

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