St. Louis Cardinals: Harrison Bader isn’t getting it done
Harrison Bader’s offense has been disappointing so far in this shortened 2020 season. If he continues to struggle, the St. Louis Cardinals have to pull the plug.
Before the planned start of the 2020 season, we heard how Harrison Bader was working out with hitting coaches Jeff Albert and Jobel Jiménez in Florida. It’s no secret that Bader’s performance at the plate has kept him from being one of the premier center fielders in all of baseball. His speed and range alone make him a Gold Glove-caliber defender for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The question has been whether he can consistently hit MLB pitching. So far in 2020, the answer is a resounding no.
Bader’s slash line of .091/.231/.182 is not good enough in this shortened season. He has not hit the ball hard in these first two series, and that’s when he makes contact. When the highest percentile ranking is in whiff percentage, that’s a major problem.
Meanwhile, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s own Derrick Goold:
Now as excited as I am about what Dylan Carlson could bring to the Cardinals, we have to see what both Lane Thomas and Harrison Bader can provide right now. Unlike Harrison Bader, Thomas does not have as much experience in the Major Leagues to predict future performance, as a wrist injury ended his season last year in late August after 34 games.
I am not advocating for a Mike Matheny-type tactic, where if Bader gets 2+ hits in a game he stays in a lineup over Thomas, or vise versa. Such a move derails confidence in a young ballplayer’s mind and ability to play the game.
I believe the Cardinals would be best served giving Lane Thomas more playing time in center field, while Bader platoons. This allows the team to see what they have in Thomas before they promote Dylan Carlson if Thomas or Bader fail to elevate the offense.
It seems that Bader will likely be in the lineup again on Friday against the Brewers. It’s only been five games, but the clock has to be running on Bader’s stranglehold on center field.
With a truncated season such as 2020, the Cardinals’ cannot afford extra time to improve the offense. The clock is ticking on Harrison Bader to improve his offensive game. If he cannot produce fast enough, then Mike Shildt and company have to give Lane Thomas or Dylan Carlson a bigger shot at center field.