Bader Forcing Cardinals To Rewrite Script

Harrison Bader (Photo by Ed Wolfstein)

Harrison Bader (Photo by Ed Wolfstein)

ST. LOUISOnce, the Cardinals put together a group of players so that they could develop as a group and win in the minors as a group, and when they arrived in the majors as a group, they contributed to a World Series championship in 2011.

The approach worked so well with Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso and others that the Cardinals followed the same model in 2016 with a nucleus at Double-A Springfield.


Center fielder Harrison Bader might force a rewrite.

“I think we'll be forced to make a tough decision in the second half of the season with what we do," general manager John Mozeliak said. “He's obviously having a lot of success at the plate. He's doing well defensively. He's an interesting player in the sense that he oozes confidence."

A third-round pick from Florida in 2015, Bader shredded the Texas League this season, less than 12 months after his final game in the College World Series.

In April, the 21-year-old began a hitting streak that came one game shy of setting a new franchise record for Springfield.

Bader, a righthanded hitter, cooled for a bit before hitting a home run in three consecutive games in late May. In his first 48 games at Double-A, he hit .330/.380/.559 with 11 homers and 26 RBIs.

Springfield has used him mostly as a leadoff hitter, working with him to develop an approach that will suit both the pop in his bat and the patience the clubs hopes he'll have as he advances.

“He's aggressive—and he's learning to be patient," Springfield manager Dann Bilardello said. “I think you have to add that. You can't go up there and wing it.

“Early on, he was doing that. He's not doing that so much now. Patience has filtered in."

The graduation of Stephen Piscotty to the majors in 2015 left the club without a top position prospect at the upper levels. Bader has taken a swing at filling that opening.

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• The Cardinals purchased 27-year-old outfielder Jose Martinez from the Royals, who had designated him for assignment. He hit .384 last season at Triple-A Omaha to pace the Pacific Coast League.

• Sources told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the commissioner's office does not expect to exact punishment for last summer's hacking scandal in time to impact the Cardinals' draft picks or spending in 2016. Former Cardinals executive Chris Correa pleaded guilty earlier this season to several counts of illegally accessing the Astros' internal database.

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