The moment Harrison Bader was reinstated from the injured list, the New York Yankees‘ offensive dynamic transformed significantly for the better.
Facing a series of injuries at the start of the 2023 season, the team managed to turn things around, as illustrated by their recent triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. This victory suggested that not only have the Bombers made a strong comeback, but they’ve also demonstrated their ability to overcome substantial deficits to secure wins.
The Yankees have enjoyed a winning streak of five consecutive games and have triumphed in 15 of their last 20 matches, earning a 30–20 record and securing 3rd place in the AL East.
Just two weeks ago, they were languishing at the bottom and trailing by 8.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. However, they’ve now narrowed this gap to just five games and are steadily advancing.
Their next couple of games against the Orioles provides an opportune moment to propel themselves back into contention for the top spot in the American League standings.
- Yankees’ Brian Cashman struck gold with one deadline trade
- Yankees: Good news and bad news from 6-5 walk-off win over Orioles
- Yankees have ‘everyday role’ planned for Josh Donaldson upon return
The exceptional value of Harrison Bader to the Yankees:
The current successes of the Yankees wouldn’t have been possible without Bader and his significant contributions. This fact suggests that Brian Cashman made a wise decision when he traded Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for the frequently injured centerfielder.
Last year, Bader only participated in 86 games, including 19 this season, due to a lat injury. Nonetheless, his influence is immense, demonstrated by another home run against the Orioles on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old outfielder boasts a batting average of .290, a .315 OBP, and a .565 slugging percentage, only second to Aaron Judge.
Although there is room for Bader to enhance his on-base rate, his batting average is commendable, and he continues to demonstrate his power-hitting prowess, adding a fresh impetus to his game. If he were to compete in a full 162-game season, he would be on track for over 30 homers, effectively doubling his career high.
Defensively, Bader’s reputation as one of the top outfielders in the game is well known. He has maintained a flawless fielding percentage with four defensive runs saved and four outs above average. If he continues on this trajectory, amassing four defensive runs saved for every 20 games played, he would be on pace to exceed 20 DRS – a career-high and a mark of the best defensive center fielder in baseball.
In truth, Bader is demonstrating his value, particularly noticeable in the 2022 post-season, when he smashed five homers across nine games.
In comparison, Montgomery, who the Yankees traded for Bader, has a 4.55 ERA this season across 55.1 innings, a performance their fan base has not received well.
Bader was always envisioned to be a post-season game-changer for the Bombers, even though injuries often restrict him to competing in about 50% of the season. However, when fit and ready to play, his influence on the batting order is significant. He energizes the outfield and contributes positively to the locker room atmosphere.
Given these circumstances, it appears Cashman’s decision to acquire Bader was a masterstroke, hinting that the Yankees might even consider extending his contract beyond the 2023 season.