April 12, 2021

National League Central X factors for 2020 (Baseball Essential)

What players can move the needle for their respective teams in the 2020 Major League Baseball season? Here are X factors for every team in the National League Central.

St. Louis Cardinals: Harrison Bader

The Cardinals got to the NL Championship Series last season with an offense that finished in the bottom third of the sport in production despite having a bevy of high-profile players; it’s astounding. Chances are they won’t be able to do the same this season, and a breakout campaign from Harrison Bader would go a long way.

Bader was one of the bright spots of the Cardinals offense in 2018, as he looked like a potential fixture in their outfield. Then he had a discouraging 2019 campaign at the plate. Hitting .205 while posting a .680 OPS and 78 OPS+ he was an unreliable force in the batter’s box. He logged strikeouts at a high rate and struggled to get on base.

Manager Mike Shildt has a budding starting rotation and a lineup of seasoned veterans; he knows the realistic best-case scenario for his players. Bader is an X factor. A bounce-back season from the versatile outfielder (Bader has extensive starting experience in center and right field) would enhance their…

Read “National League Central X factors for 2020” at Baseball Essential