The New York Yankees‘ woes seem to have compounded. After being swept by the Los Angeles Angels and losing 7–3 last night, they may now face an additional challenge with the potential loss of starting centerfielder Harrison Bader. The Bombers’ offensive struggles were already evident, and Bader’s absence could add to their predicament.
Bader was hit in the back by a 95 mph sinker during Wednesday’s game, resulting in a posterior rib contusion. Although the tests came back negative, such contusions can sideline a player for weeks. Bader’s injury was visibly severe, evidenced by a substantial welt at the impact site.
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Bader’s Performance Woes and Impact on the Yankees’ Outfield
Bader’s recent performance hasn’t been encouraging, with a .243 batting average, a .276 on-base percentage (OBP), seven homers, 31 RBIs, a 16.2% strikeout rate, and a mere 3.2% walk rate this season. His weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 88 has been on a steady decline. If he’s placed on the injured list, it will deal a significant blow to the Yankees’ outfield, which has already been stretched thin.
However, Bader’s numbers are even less impressive in July, with a .180 batting average, a .232 OBP, and a .280 slugging percentage. Despite these lackluster stats, his aggressive plate approach aimed at hitting homers and making quality contact is notable. Although his hard-hit rate of 28.1% is the second lowest in his career, his launch angle of 18.9% — the highest in his career — highlights his intent to elevate the ball.
Expected Lineup Changes and Future Prospects
With Aaron Judge still on the mend, the Yankees’ outfield can’t afford more losses. Fans can expect to see more of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Billy McKinney, and Franchy Cordero in the coming weeks.
General Manager Brian Cashman will likely seek roster updates at the trade deadline. However, continuous player injuries limit the extent of such changes. The Yankees have reportedly shown interest in Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson and Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger.
The ideal situation for the Bombers would be to acquire players with long-term prospects who can contribute beyond this season. While their current standings may lead to a sell-off at the deadline, bringing in productive players who can contribute in 2024 seems like a wise move for the Yankees.