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Analyzing The Spring Success of Harrison Bader

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 HarveyStephen 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.

The Chart:

RESULT COUNT PITCHER HIGHEST LEVEL AGE HANDEDNESS
HOMERUN 0-0 JAKE ESCH MLB 26 RIGHT
DOUBLE 0-0 KYLE MARTIN AAA 26 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 CHASEN BRADFORD AAA 27 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 DEREK EITEL AAA 29 RIGHT
SINGLE 0-0 MATT HARVEY MLB 28 RIGHT
SINGLE 0-1 SETH LUGO MLB 27 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-0 ADAM WILK AAA 29 RIGHT
TRIPLE 0-0 ADDISON REED MLB 28 RIGHT
SINGLE  1-0 STEPHEN STASBURG MLB 28 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 JACOB TURNER MLB 25 RIGHT
HOMERUN  3-2 DEREK EITEL AAA 27 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 KYLE GIBSON MLB 29 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 ROBERT GSELLMAN MLB 23 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 JOE MUSGROVE MLB 24 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 FRAMBER VALDEZ A+ 23 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 TYSON PEREZ AAA 27 RIGHT
WALK  4-0 COLLIN McHUGH MLB 29 RIGHT
STRIKEOUT 0-3 JAMES HOYT MLB 30 RIGHT
DOUBLE 0-0 TONY SIPP MLB 33 LEFT
SINGLE 0-0 JOE BLANTON MLB 36 RIGHT

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!

Kyle Reis

Follow me on Twitter at @kyler416

Kyle Reis
Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford. Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse. He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as "we" instead of "them".
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