If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Harrison Bader was, by both fWAR and bWAR, the second highest rated position player on the Cardinals. Bader did this despite playing only about 2/3 of a season's worth of innings in the outfield and coming to the plate less than 450 times.
Harrison Bader, if the voters do their jobs, will win the National League Gold Glove for center field - along with Ender Inciarte and Lorenzo Cain.
Bader showed (to me at least) that he has the potential to improve at the plate as well. Bader showed, at age 23 this year, that he is a guy who could over 600 PA put up 50 xbh, get on base 1/3 of the time, and steal 20 bases. That is incredibly valuable for an elite defender.
Bader also plays with an energy, motor, and speed that excites fans...That makes fans - of Whiteyball, especially - want to come to the ballpark.
There are plenty of places where Bader could improve his game. For example, while his wOBA was above league average, his xwOBA was below league average - meaning: by the quality of the balls he hit, his expected wOBA would have been below league average. So, in order to keep up even his current pace, much hit better like I said before, might take quite a bit of work. Keep in mind, this is positivity month, so I'm going somewhere positive with this. I think Bader has a certain cockiness to him - hell, he searches for himself on Twitter (@aybaybader) to respond to people - like when Keith Olbermann foolishly called him out for no reason. FYI, Bader got on base 3 of his next 9 times to the plate and scored 2 runs. That cockiness is something that has made him far surpass his scouting grades given to him by nearly everyone. Nobody saw 70+ grade speed out of him ever, until consistent MLB level playing time. Nobody saw this defense out of Bader, helped out by that 70+ grade speed. That cockiness is something that will make Bader into something better at the plate as well - if it happens.
Besides the fact that he should be rookie of the year despite having around 75% of the innings of Inciarte and being tied atop the Outs Above Average leaderboard with him, consistency was the coolest stat I could find for Bader. Bader's wRC+ in the "first half" of the season? 106. Bader's wRC+ in the "second half" of the season? 106.
Positive October Day 3 is in the books!