Center fielder Harrison Bader has only played five games with the New York Yankees. That tiny sample, however, has left us with a few conclusions. The first and most important one is that he looks healthy after leaving behind a tricky injury, plantar fasciitis, that plagued him for months. The second one is that he appears to be an impactful player on both facets of the game.
His 103 wRC+ and .286/.353/.357 line show he can be, at the very least, an average MLB hitter with one of the best gloves you will see in center field. He also has a stolen base already, and the power, at least to some extent, will come.
His impact on defense was definitely felt on Saturday, as the Yankees played the Boston Red Sox. He made a diving catch in the eighth inning to help secure a 7-5 victory.
At the time, the Red Sox had two runners on base and one out. Abraham Almonte hit a liner to center field, and Bader was able to get a good read and jump and catch the ball before hitting the grass.
The Yankees have a special fielder
“There’s a short list of people making that [catch],” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the New York Post. “Getting that read, jump, diving headfirst like that. That’s an elite play out there that he made. Obviously that’s what we saw and went out [and got him]. That’s who he’s been in his career.”
Bader is starting to show the Yankees it was worth trading Jordan Montgomery for him and then waiting for him to get healthy.
“Baseball inherently is a game where there are a lot of factors that you can’t control,” Bader said. “But on defense, with regards to your positioning, understanding what the pitcher’s trying to do with the hitter, game situation, jumps off the bat, how much you practice it before the game — all these things are controllable factors. I’m just ready to pull them out whenever I need to and it showed up for us in the eighth.
“I was just happy to reel that one in because that was a nice situation.”
You can tell the Yankees have a Gold Glover in center field with Bader in the fold.