Harrison Bader was demoted to AAA Memphis after the Cardinals played the Astros on July 28. His last hit in the majors was on July 17. His average had dropped to .191. His strikeout rate was up to 28.1%. He was getting on base 30.9% of the time. All this amounted to a wRC+ of 71 — 100 is average. The young centerfielder just appeared to have hit a wall, so the Cardinals sent him down to work some things out.
Work things out, he did. In sixteen games Bader hit for .317 average with seven homers. He only failed to get a hit in three of those sixteen games. He lowered his strikeouts to 21.3%. His wRC during his minor league stint was 164. As Jen Langosch wrote for MLB.com on Tuesday morning his “recall is imminent”.
Later on Tuesday he was recalled, per Stu Durando and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
No announcement has been made but young Randy Arozarena, who had two hits in eight at-bats for the Cardinals after hitting .368 at Memphis, was told after Monday’s game that he will be returned there and Bader, who was hitting .317 with 15 RBIs with an OPS well over 1.000, will be brought up.
The call up appears to be just in time, too:
Arozarena only made it into three games during his cup of coffee with the big league club. He went 2-8 during that time with two singles and two strikeouts. In AAA this year, Arozarena hit for a 147 wRC with a .368 average and seven homers in 231 plate appearances. He and Bader have both shown there is not much left for them to prove in AAA, with Bader — in an admittedly much smaller sample size — having just a smidge better results.
The real battle for playing time looks like it will be between Tommy Edman — whose AAA batting line is much less impressive than those of both Arozarena and Bader — and Bader, an actual centerfielder. The Cardinals seem committed to Tommy Edman, outfielder. Could Bader’s promotion change that?
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