photo: Harrison Bader (Jim Cowsert/Imagn)
The St. Louis Cardinals optioned center fielder Harrison Bader to Triple-A Memphis on Monday and he will be replaced by Lane Thomas on Tuesday, Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch reports.
The move with Bader, 25, was expected no sooner than when Marcell Ozuna comes off the injured list perhaps in a week or so, but instead, the team decided to make the move even more quickly.
This season, over 260 plate appearances, Bader has slashed a disappointing .195/.309/.339/.648, albeit with his Gold Glove-caliber defense. His strikeout rate this season is 28.1 percent, comparable to 2017 and 2018, though his walk rate is up to 11.2 percent from 7.3 percent last season.
It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals give Thomas regular time in the outfield – at least until Ozuna returns. In his prior 11-game look with St. Louis, the 23-year old was primarily a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement. Though Thomas can play center well, he was used in left recently in Memphis, as Randy Arozarena was being tested there.
Through 304 plate appearances in 75 games with Memphis this season, Thomas has posted a .268/.352/.460/.812 slash line. He has been especially hot recently, going 6-for-12 with two walks in the Oklahoma City series, including four home runs and eight RBI. The right-handed hitter’s strikeout rate remains high at 26.3 percent while his walk rate has doubled this season to 10.5 percent.
To track the 25- and 40-man rosters as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, our limited edition printed and bound Guides are $5 off, so get yours today!
© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.