Mets star outfielder returns to form after recent benching

MLB: New York Mets at Tampa Bay Rays
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets star outfielder Harrison Bader made his second-straight start in their 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on May 11 after openly voicing his displeasure with relegation to the bench last week.

Bader has connected on one hit in six at-bats, hitting .273 since rejoining the starting lineup on May 10. The 29-year-old, who normally hits seventh in the Mets’ batting order, was originally pulled from the starting lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 6 and 7.

Mets: Harrison Bader was not happy with recent benching

Bader openly voiced his displeasure with the coaching move after his second straight benching on May 8:

“I don’t handle it well, I can tell you that,” Bader said, and also told reporters that “I want to win, but I want to play.”

As one of the Mets’ biggest off-season acquisitions, Bader entered the 2024 MLB season with a .243 career batting average and .706 OPS. He most recently hit .232 with a .622 OPS in 98 games spent with the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds in 2023.

Bader was hitting at a career-high level before getting pulled

In his 30 games played before getting sidelined this year, the former 2021 Gold Glove award winner put up a career-high .281 batting average and maintained a pace of 61 runs scored for 120 games played, equalling his personal-best from 2018, and much more in a full 162-game slate. Though, his 138 games played in 2018 is the most he’s seen in any season.

The Mets are now 12-8 when Bader records at least one hit in a game. They are also 12-4 when he hits .280 or better. It is no coincidence that the Mets have found much success in the win column when the center fielder succeeds at the plate.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets, harrison bader
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Bader is hungry to continue excelling at the plate and helping the Mets win games

Encouragingly, Bader’s natural competitiveness helped him pick up right where he left off, continuing his most efficient hitting campaign in the big leagues against Atlanta. He wants to put on for the Mets while seeing their win total increase.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza normally issues out the starting lineups via text to his roster the night before their next game, as Conahan also shed light on. With the way in which Bader has been able to connect on pitches, he should see his name on those lists with less interruptions as the Mets (18-20) look to reach above .500 once more.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: