Bader split last season between the Yankees and Cincinnati Reds, batting .232 on the year with seven home runs and 20 stolen bases. Various injuries limited him to just 98 games, though his elite glove still managed +9 outs above average (OAA) and +4 defensive runs saved (DRS).
The Westchester native and Horace Mann grad now takes his talents to Flushing. His role with the Mets, in the meantime, remains to be seen. Center field belongs to Brandon Nimmo, so maybe the Mets stick Bader in left? Maybe new skipper Carlos Mendoza sees him as a fourth outfielder and the Mets bring in a journeyman like Randal Grichuk or Eddie Rosario to start.
One way or another, Harrison Bader has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants a regular place in the Mets’ lineup. He doesn’t draw walks, having posted a 6th-percentile walk rate (BB%) last season. He swings and misses about half the time too.
Worse yet, Bader is a .173 career hitter with two strikes and bats .200 with a .208 OBP when behind in the count. Ahead, he bats .301 with a .471. Bader also can’t hit breaking pitches, usually hovering around the Mendoza Line or worse.
Oh, and let’s not forget the injuries. Bader debuted in 2017 and hasn’t played a true full season since 2018.
Thus, we won’t know until spring training what the Mets’ plan is for Harrison Bader. He could platoon with Nimmo and start against lefties, but Nimmo bats .286 against southpaws. The Mets are also loaded with outfielders, so maybe he’s a late-innings defensive replacement?
One thing we do know is that the Mets clearly have some plan for Bader. Steve Cohen and Dave Stearns wouldn’t pay him $10.5 million just to cut him in spring training. Harrison Bader will have a job in Queens next year. It’s just a matter of which one.