Danny Bautista Jr. has had quite the journey in the baseball world already.
Daniel (Danny) Bautista Jr. was born in Phoenix, Arizona in September of 2000. The Bautista family has a rich baseball tradition, with Bautista Jr. and his father (Daniel Bautista Sr.) and his brother (Gerald Bautista) all playing professional baseball.
Daniel Bautista Sr. played with four MLB teams, the Tigers, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Braves. Bautista Jr. was born in Arizona while his father played for the Diamondbacks and has lived in the United States for most of his life. Bautista Sr. won the World Series in 2001 while playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With his father being so successful playing professional baseball, both Bautista Jr. and his brother Gerald Bautista have made it to professional levels of baseball.
Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Bautista Jr. was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a SS, receiving a $300,000 contract during the 2017 October international signing period.
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For Danny, there has been pressure stemming from having a father who had a long career in the big leagues, but not in the way you would think.
“What motivates me the most is trying to be better than my dad,” said Bautista Jr. “It’s all fun and games and he (Bautista Sr.) wants me to break everything, but there definitely is some healthy competition there. He is happy for me and wants me to do well.”
Although Danny has always been talented, growing up in a strong household clearly built a solid foundation for his growth as a man and as a player.
“My father was big on working out in the morning and getting everything done so you can have the day to yourself. I have gotten used to that and would try to hit the gym and have my work done before noon or one in the afternoon,” said Bautista Jr.
Not lost at all on Danny is the fact that he is still a 19-year-old kid. He likes naps, he has friends in the United States and family in the Dominican Republic and enjoys quality time with his family. Although Bautista Jr. is a unique player, as any kid does, Danny models his game off of Jose Reyes in the way he plays the game, or Adam Jones in the swagger he brings off the field.
While any parent can and often does try to assist their child build strong character traits and habits, having a father who knows exactly what it takes for an athlete to make an MLB roster has been a big advantage for Danny.
“I feel like that is one of the biggest advantages you can have. He actually lived in those shoes, he knows the expectations and he has helped me more in my journey because of that,” said Bautista Jr.
Fun fact: There have been over 200 father-son duos in the major leagues, with there being five third-generation families making history in major league baseball. There is a clear benefit for a player trying to work their way up to the show, a benefit that Bautista Jr. clearly recognizes.
Before Danny went to high school, his family decided to move to the Dominican Republic. The Bautista family owns a farm in the Dominican Republic, and after Danny’s sister graduated high school and his brother was off playing professional baseball, it was the perfect time for a move at age 15, a move that neither Bautista Jr. or Bautista Sr. regret.
“To me, it meant a lot because he had to adapt to a different way of life and baseball where facilities and nice things aren’t available like in the US and you have to make the best of what you have. Until this day the decision was the best we made because he has improved tremendously while competing with some very talented kids,” said Bautista Sr.
While in the Dominican Republic, Danny attended Colegio Panama and El Buen Samaritano
where most of his focus was on baseball, an idea that is much different than how athletics is valued in the US.
“It was wake up, practice, lift weights, and do all that. Over here you focus more on school, but I knew I had a bright future ahead of me playing baseball. It definitely made me a better baseball player, and it made me appreciate life more with the unique culture they’ve got over there,” said Bautista Jr.
Whereas most high schools in the United States have school from 8 AM-3 PM and then only after school is athletics allowed to be the focal point of the school, Danny’s situation clearly was different. His ability to train consistently and focus on what his future would be geared towards gave him the chance to get a step up on other athletes his age.
Danny’s father spoke to how important it was to him for Danny to experience playing baseball in the Dominican Republic.
“Baseball is huge in the DR, there is a lot of competition. I wanted my son to live what I lived through when I was young, playing baseball in DR where I had to work hard every single day and not get too comfortable with anything,” said Bautista Sr. “I knew I had to advance. Not only with Danny Jr but with my older son Gerald too who signed in the Dominican as well.”
Bautista Jr. signed with the Athletics as a shortstop, but in the last couple of years has transitioned to an outfielder. Although the positions are different, Danny’s speed and athleticism have allowed the transition to be smoother than others who have tried to make that switch. Danny has kept up with his skills at shortstop, but feels more comfortable and has adapted quite well to the outfield.
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Whether it be his time on the 14U US National Development Program, his experiences in the Dominican Republic or the habits instilled in him by his World Series Champion father, Danny Bautista Jr. has a wide array of baseball experience that will be key to ascending the ladder and making a mark in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics.