Harrison Bader was not quite the position player equivalent to Jack Flaherty on the pitching side of things this year, but he was close. His defense was as much of a revelation as Flaherty on the mound. Bader was arguably the best outfielder in baseball this year and would have won a gold glove had he had enough innings in one of the three positions to qualify for the award.
Bader’s offense was right around league average - just above. If you can have a slightly above league average hitter playing gold glove defense in center field, you take it every year. We’ll see how regression takes effect this year - or how the “sophomore slump” affects Bader.
For 2019, I would argue that Bader will likely hit somewhere in the 6, 7, 8 range in the lineup this year and am leaning towards 8th in the order - so that’s the comparison I will make. Here are what 8-hitters in the order have done per 600 PA over the last 5 seasons:
Here is also what the league average center fielder has done in the past 5 years per 600 PA:
What does my system say Bader will do in 2019?
72 runs, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 17 homers, 54 RBI
27.1% K rate, 7.2% BB rate, 16 SB, 9 CS
What can be pointed out to show that things CAN be better than that?!?
The optimistic side of me wants to look at this actual progression made by Bader:
AAA 2016 (161 PA): .231/.298/.354/.652 - 23.6% K, 6.8% BB
AAA 2017 (479 PA): .283/.347/.469/.816 - 24.6% K, 7.1% BB
MLB 2017 (92 PA): .235/.283/.376/.659 - 26.1% K, 5.4% BB
MLB 2018 (427 PA): .264/.334/.422/.756 - 29.3% K, 7.3% BB
Bader has made strides in the past - strides that have made him look like he is far outplaying his “potential” as seen by prospect experts and many others.
How/If things go wrong:
He will sink back to his “potential” as stated by those experts and others. Nobody really saw him as anything more than slightly above average at everything at his peak. While slightly above average at everything would be fine, not many players peak at all aspects of the game at the same time.