The St. Louis Cardinals have a surplus of outfielders at their disposal these days, that can lead to guys like Harrison Bader being a forgotten entity and he is someone Cardinal fans need to remember.
Another day, another home run seems to be the thought process for St. Louis Cardinals prospect Harrison Bader lately. Last night Bader hit his 17th home run of the year and his fifth in the last ten games. Home runs are only a part of the absolute tear that Bader has been on of late.
On the season, Bader has a stat line that makes you wonder why he hasn’t hit the majors yet this year. A .303 average, sevenetten home runs, forty-three RBIs and fifty runs is a pretty impressive stat line for the 23-year-old.
The last ten games have gone a long way in increasing the impressiveness of Bader’s stat line though. A .400 average with five home runs and twelve RBIs all over a ten game span have more and more people clamoring for a Bader appearance in the Bigs.
Impressive stats aside, Bader still has some work to do. Much like most up-and-coming young players, Bader has had trouble with his patience at the plate. Sporting a seventy-nine strikeout to eighteen walk ratio, Bader clearly shows he is aggressive at the plate and has some room for improvement.
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Taking a deeper look into Bader’s stats is where they get interesting. On the season Bader has shown an impressive ability to hit lefties. On the season, though a smaller sample size compared to righties, Bader is batting .424 against lefties. He also has 9 of his 17 home runs against lefties, all this in sixty-six at-bats. In comparison, Bader has batted .269 vs right handed pitchers with eight home runs coming in 238 at bats.
The obvious issue for Bader and the St. Louis Cardinals is that there is a surplus of outfielders ahead of him. Realistically, he could be this teams 4th outfielder and split time with Tommy Pham. Jose Martinez has cooled off, possibly due to less and less playing time and Randal Grichuk, while hitting impressive home runs has struggled to do much else.
Bader also offers a potentially interesting role in the coming weeks, that of trade bait. You have probably already heard Bader connected to a combination of realistic and unrealistic deals already. Don’t expect those to go away. Without a clear path to the majors and impressive stats, you have to assume teams have called on the Cardinals about him or at least mentioned his name in any potential deals.
The St. Louis Cardinals need to make a decision with Bader. Either commit to him being a member of this organization going forward or move him in a deal to improve this team. A prospects value does not stand pat forever, especially for one who is as hot at the plate as Bader. It also doesn’t do Bader any favors to constantly be facing AAA pitchers; his ability to improve will start to downturn if he isn’t challenged.
The St. Louis Cardinals' front office has difficult task of putting together the best possible roster before the trade deadline on July 31st.
Whatever the team does with Bader, expect him to be a fixture in Cardinal rumors in the coming weeks. Hopefully he will continue to hit and force the Cardinals hand one way or another. If you didn’t know the name Harrison Bader before this, remember it, could be very important here soon.