Yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals promoted outfield prospect Harrison Bader to the major league roster. He went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies. Here’s an update.
The Cardinals drafted Bader in the third round in 2015 from the University of Florida. He was a first round candidate for much of that spring until a late slump drove his numbers down a bit; he still hit a robust .297/.393/.556 with 17 homers for the Gators and was a bargain in the third round.
He rose rapidly, reaching Triple-A in his first full season in ‘16 and hitting .267/.335/.452 overall with 19 homers. Bader ranked fourth on the pre-season St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with the following commentary:
4) Harrison Bader, OF, Grade B: Age 22, third round pick in 2015 from University of Florida; hit .267/.335/.452 between Double-A and Triple-A with 19 homers, 13 steals, 36 walks, 131 strikeouts in 465 at-bats; all tools at least average and when he’s going well he has the skills to be more than just a tweener; approach can be over-aggressive and he needs more Triple-A time to hone the strike zone but I think he’ll do so; tends to look better in person than he does on the stat sheet; should be multi-category contributor. ETA 2018.
Bader has picked up the production this year, hitting .297/.354/.517 with 19 homers in a return engagement with Memphis, with 23 walks and 90 strikeouts in 350 at-bats.
Listed at 6-0, 195, Bader is a right-handed hitter and thrower born June 3rd, 1994. As noted all of his physical tools are pretty solid and he is a fun player to watch in person, with a hustling approach that grows on you.
Bader has a better feel for the strike zone than his relatively low walk numbers imply, but he likes to take a big hack that helps his raw power play up in games. That approach results in strikeouts but he seems to have found a happy medium, at least in Triple-A. He’s a good defensive outfielder as well, capable at all three positions; again, his hustle and aggressive play help the tools play up.