Aaron Bates is ranked #20 overall for the Boston Red Sox top prospects this season. Aaron was drafted in the 3rd round (83rd overall) of the MLB draft by the Red Sox in 2006 at only 22 years of age. The young outfielder/first basemen lingered in single-A and double-A ball since he was drafted and recently made the jump to triple-A Pawtucket during the 2009 season. Bates started 2009 with the double-A Portland Sea Dogs playing in 52 games with a .340 AVG, 7 HR and 39 RBI's in 206 AB's. Aaron was called up to Pawtucket in 2009 only to see his numbers drop in his 24 games (.182 AVG./2 HR/7 RBI/88 AB).
Aaron Bates is yet another prospect that has been developed in the Boston Red Sox farm system for his entire career. Bates has been called up to the majors for the first time in his four years with the organization and SoxProspects has this to say about him:
Slugger with high power potential - won the Cape Cod League home run hitting contest in 2005. Bates demonstrated his present power at the lower levels in 2006 and 2007, but it stalled out somewhat at Double-A Portland in 2008. the strength was always there, he just struggled with making contact and elevating the ball. Prior to the 2009 season, Bates altered his mechanics by shortening his swing and eliminating his leg kick timing step. The early results have been outstanding. He's shown more balance and has been able to turn on the ball a lot better. In addition to power, he possesses above average plate discipline, showing a selective approach at the plate and the ability to work the count. However, he can struggle with breaking balls and had historically reached for a lot of balls outside of the zone. Hits well to the opposite field. Average glove, range, and quickness at first base. Bates has been moved to the outfield for the 2009 season, partly to add some versatility and partly due to the presence of Lars Anderson at first base. Still needs to show improvement in the field if he is to advance as an outfielder, but it's still early in the transition. Hard worker with a professional demeanor, well liked and respected by his teammates. Prepares well mentally and physically for each game.
First Major League Start
Aaron Bates made his first major league start against the Oakland Athletics on July 6, 2009 when he was called up to play first base with Jeff Bailey on the DL with a sprained ankle. In his first game with the Red Sox, Bates went 0-3 with a weak pop up in the infield in his first at bat followed by two strike outs. The positive to take out of the game for Aaron Bates was his patience at the plate. The first baseman was able to work the pitcher and wait for pitches, not being anxious and swinging at anything coming his way in his debut. He showed a great swing and could provide the bat that we need with as loaded DL if his power comes through.
Thanks to Tom Clifton for the photo of Aaron Bates batting for Single-A Lancaster.