ONE STEP CLOSER: Harrison Bader
ONE STEP CLOSER: Harrison Bader
Peoria Chiefs / St. Louis Cardinals (Class A)
Mequon, WI – When University of Florida outfielder Harrison Bader left the Lakeshore Chinooks late into the summer of 2013, General Manager Dean Rennicke commented “Boy, I hate to lose him. He’s got some pop in his bat!” Bader belted out 20 hits, including three home runs and six doubles in 20 games for the Chinooks and left an impression with professional scouts that he would be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. After hitting .312 for the nationally-ranked Gators as a freshman, Bader went on to hit .335 as a sophomore and then cracked 17 homers and hit .297 in his junior season. Prior to the 2015 MLB Draft, there was even talk that Bader’s added power may have thrust him into first round consideration.
Considering him to be major bargain, the St. Louis Cardinals, a National League Central Division rival of the Milwaukee Brewers, scooped Bader up (100th overall pick in the 3rd Round of the 2015 MLB Draft). Ironically, Bader’s hosts for the 2013 Chinooks’ season was the future manager of the Brewers, Craig Counsel, and his family. Bader soaked in his conversations with the long time veteran and hit the ground running after being drafted. He blasted his way through seven games with the State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League by hitting .379 with two home runs to earn a quick promotion to the Class A Peoria Chiefs where he continue to produce. Between the two teams, Bader hit .311 with 11 home runs, 32 RBI, and 17 stolen bases and helped lead Peoria to the finals of the Midwest League Western Division. Bader’s power at the plate earned him the Player of the Week honors for the league on August 31 and left an impression on the Cardinals’ front office as he was honored as an organizational All-Star in the Cardinals’ system for 2015 and was ranked by MLB.com as the #10 prospect in the Cardinal system heading into 2016.
Minor league hitting coordinator Derrick May likes what the Cardinals coaches have seen from Bader to date. “Harrison Bader is a guy, you love his tools and he uses them well,” May said. “He is an aggressive hitter and hits the ball well. He hits it far, too, when he hits it. He’s got great speed. He’s got a great arm. He has a lot of things he can do on the field that you like to see.” With a likely promotion to the Advanced Class A Palm Beach Cardinals, Chinooks fans can keep track of Bader’s progress at:
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.