Cardinals Prospect Harrison Bader had a tremendous spring for the Cardinals. He slashed 346/404/538/942 with 5 extra base hits in 52 AB. Bader was one of the last cuts from camp, and he definitely impressed the parent club during his turn with the team this spring.
Spring success is a weird thing, though. As we all know, individual spring success doesn’t mean anything in regards to how it will translate for an individual hitter during the regular season, even if team success can translate into regular season success. So, I was really curious to look at how Bader had success during the spring.
There are a couple of things that I, personally, wanted to know. I wanted to know how he was working counts. I wanted to know who he was hitting, who he wasn’t hitting, and what level those players had played at during the 2016 season. I was also curious about the count and what he was hitting or missing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find all of the pitch type data I was looking for. Still, I’ve compiled a nice little graph to that tracks everything else.
What I was really interested in was how and when he struck out and how and when drove the ball for extra bases. In my opinion, most singles are usually based more in luck, so that’s why I focused on extra base hits. I also really wanted to know how he did against some established MLB pitchers. So, I included AB’s against Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, and Addison Reed, because those were the only three MLB caliber pitchers he faced that didn’t produce either an XBH , BB, or a K.
A couple of observations:
- I tracked down video of the AB’s against Strasburg and Harvey, and both of his singles were line drives on fastballs. It won’t be easy to sneak a fastball by Bader early in a count.
- When I watched the video of his HR’s, both were on fastballs low and mid-out. He really powers them over the fence, and gets low to do it. There’s real, raw power there.
- Bader strikes out a lot on 3 pitches.
- That stretch of five straight 3-pitch K’s is baffling. You don’t see that very often.
- Without having the pitches thrown in each at bat data, it’s hard to draw a conclusion about how to approach Bader from a pitchers perspective. My GUESS is, you start him with a breaking pitch and eat him alive with high speed and additional break.
- As we already knew, Bader is an aggressive hitter. Through this little chart we know how that aggressiveness works for and against him. He’s usually seeing an establishing fastball early in the count, and he takes advantage of that. However, if he doesn’t hit that pitch, he is severely vulnerable to an off speed attack to make quick work of him.
- He was surprisingly successful against many pitchers that have, at least to the smallest degree, pitched in the majors. Although…..
- Many of these guys are old for having little to no MLB experience. Bader has done most of his spring damage against “4 A” pitchers.
- Bader didn’t face many lefties during spring. I think it’s a good sign that he was so successful against so many right handed pitchers. Even if most of that success came against “Four A”.
- Bader only had one extra base hit over his last 16 games played during spring.
- THERE IS A GUY IN THE ASTROS MINOR LEAGUE SYSTEM NAME “FRAMBER”.
In conclusion, Harrison Bader had a very nice spring that was padded my early surge. He is a very good and aggressive hitter that still needs work on pitch identification in an effort to help himself later on in counts. If spring training is any indication, Bader is poised for a very good season in Memphis, especially with so much success against “Four A” pitchers.
What did you take away from Harrison Bader‘s spring performance? Let us know!
Thanks For Reading!
Follow me on Twitter at @kyler416