St. Louis Cardinals: Harrison Bader might need a mental reset

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 09: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 09, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 09: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 09, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Cardinals’ center fielder has been struggling with the bat and what may be best for him is to take a rotation at AAA for a mental reset.

Plenty of St. Louis Cardinals players had sky-high expectations going into the 2019 season, and to be honest, most of the Cardinals have been massive disappointments so far this season. This is no different for outfielder Harrison Bader.

Last season, Bader came onto the scene in a big way and even finished in the top five in the National League Rookie of the Year race. Bader showed his elite speed and one of the best outfield gloves in the league, it seemed like every night he was doing something jaw-dropping, and he was even considered a rising superstar by some analysts.

With Bader’s athleticism and plus defensive play, he was primed to be one of the top Cardinals on the 2019 roster. and was expected to take that next step as a ballplayer. So far though, Bader has been very disappointing. He is currently sporting a .209/.328/.384 line.

Though 2019 hasn’t been great for Bader, this past month has been even worse for him. Since the end of May, Bader is currently slashing .159/.280/.349. To say the least, that’s pretty awful. To make things even worse, Bader is 1 for his last 29. His defense has still been solid, but it has not been as good as it was advertised over the offseason.

Bader’s approach seems off, he is going for flyballs almost every at-bat, and his groundballs have been very weak. It seems like he is trying to be like the big-time power guys and try for launch angle for potential home runs, but he should not be that guy.

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A player with speed like Bader should be trying to rack up as many base hits as possible and be getting on base. This fly-ball launch angle approach clearly isn’t working and he needs to switch it up.

Bader might just need some time to recuperate in Memphis and get his mindset right. His offensive numbers have been putrid and it does not look like they are getting any better. His contact off the bat is very weak, and his exit velocity per at bat is among one of the worst in the Majors. Bader is struggling to even make contact with the ball, as he has a 27.8 K-rate currently.

It seems like hitting coach Jeff Albert has not done much to help his case either, as his hitters are among the worst in the league for June. The Cardinals offense will likely not reach the 100-run mark for the month, which goes for less than four runs-per-game. It seems like the hitters down in Memphis have done a fine job hitting the ball though, working with last years assistant hitting coach George Greer.

Look at Tommy Edman. He has been working with Greer almost all season, and he has come out firing since he has been called up to the Majors. When Yairo Munoz came back up from AAA Memphis, it seemed like he was hitting everything in his path. So maybe Bader getting work with Greer could do wonders for him at the plate. Because like many other Cardinals hitters, he looks completely lost at the dish.

Sure, if you send Bader to Memphis, you’re losing defense, but with the way this offense has been, you need to put in somebody who is going to hit the ball and produce runs, because this offense has been abysmal this whole month, and sacrificing that offense for defense could be a huge help and maybe even get some of the top guys like Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter going.

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I’m not going to say that Bader has been a bust or just isn’t good. Mainly because we saw what Bader can do whenever he’s locked in at the plate, he gives great at-bats and can even use his speed to get extra bases, but some time in Memphis to get his mind right could be just what the doctor ordered for Bader.