LF Harrison Bader
Like DeJong, the 22-year-old Bader has come out firing during his first professional season, but he one-upped his fellow 2015 draftee by earning a promotion to Triple-A Memphis in early July. It’s likely that the Cardinals gained the confidence necessary to fuel the promotion in April, when Bader hit .338 with a .960 OPS and five homers. While he basically replicated that success in May, hitting .324 with a .923 OPS and six homers, he’s been in a bit of a tailspin since June 1, as he’s hit just .221 with four homers between Springfield and Memphis. His strikeouts have also been concerning this season, as he’s got 114 punchouts in 419 at-bats.
With that said, Bader is an athletic, versatile defensive outfielder who can play all three positions and is polished enough as a hitter–minus the plate discipline issues–that he could be ready to contribute in the big leagues at some point in 2017. Contrary to what we thought back in May, that point probably won’t be any time near Opening Day, but Bader was ridiculously good enough for the first two months of this season to inspire the belief that he’ll be a major-leaguer (and a good one) sooner than later.
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