The Bronx Tales: The Harrison Bader Effect. Last year's deadline acquisition clearly wasn't a fluke.
When the Yankees made a flurry of moves at the deadline to "bolster" their roster for a eventual playoff push, it was odd at the buzzer beater, they made an addition by subtraction. They sent off Jordan Montgomery, who was one of their more reliable starters, for a speedy defensive centerfielder, who was on the IL for plantar fasciitis.
The outfield was already crowded, with Judge, Stanton, Benintendi, Cabrera, and Hicks, but Cashman clearly knew something we didn't. The New York native was known for his gold glove defense and immense quickness. He stole 15 bases in 17 attempts in three months. However, Bader was an average hitter at best. A sub .240 career batting average with not a lot of pop, so it left Yankee fans curious on how he would make a difference.
It took over six weeks for the Yankees to witness the newly acquired outfielder, who again shined in the field, but provided very average results at the plate. In 14 games at the end of the regular season, he tallied 10 hits with 9 RBI's. However, Bader became the second coming of The Babe. His bat came alive, and he was a reason the Yankees got to where they were that fall. Five home runs in nine games. He hit three home runs in the first four games of the ALDS, joining Bernie Williams and Micky Mantle as the only Yankee center fielders with three homers in a single postseason. He later became the first Yank to ever to hit four home runs in his first six postseason games. Not only was his offense an incredible addition, but his personality and style made the Yankees look and feel alive. He instantly became a fan favorite. He was the sparkplug we hoped for, but was it just a fluke?
Going into the offseason, fans felt confident in Bader and were excited for his new campaign, but unfortunately had to wait a few weeks after Opening Day. He suffered a left oblique injury in spring training, and was sidelined up until this past week.
With the injuries of Judge and Stanton, plus the lack of any production from Aaron Hicks, and the slow start from Cabrera, Harrison Bader needed to come back, and perform, or fans across the internet would soon question his place.
Luckily for Bader, his hot bat never left, and he provided the spark (yet again). In six games, he continues to shine in the outfield, making plays Hicks or IKF could never. However, his bat is what are keeping the Yankees afloat, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. He's knocked in 7 RBI's and 2 homers, plus two triples and a .389 batting average. Not to mention, with the recent skid the Yankees have managed to accomplish, Bader brings a new excitement to the team, and brings the fans back in while the injuries have killed the vibes.
It's a breath of fresh air having Bader back in the lineup. Hopefully he can help inspire the kids to start producing, and he will lead the ship once the other key members return. His presence makes this team enjoyable to watch, and his availability and success provides a w in Cashman's scorebook, because the GM is starting to get ripped for his recent adds to the team (and rightfully so).