Bader, who's already renowned for his defensive prowess, is also being lauded by manager Mike Shildt for his improvement as a hitter, Glenn Sattell of MLB.com reports. "He's gotten more disciplined, still working on it," Shildt said of Bader's batting skills. "He has a more consistent swing. His body of work this spring is 180 degrees, so I couldn't be more excited about him. You look at his BP, the guy is hitting missiles everywhere."
The 24-year-old's actual spring line belies the strides Shildt is seeing Bader make, as the outfielder is only hitting .171 through 41 exhibition at bats. Those struggles aside, Bader demonstrated tangible improvement in 2018 over his first taste of major-league regular-season action the year prior. Bader slashed a solid .264/.334/.422 with 34 extra-base hits (20 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs) and 37 RBI across 427 plate appearances, lending credence to the notion his current struggles are simply an outlier exacerbated by the small sample size. Bader is set to open the season as the everyday center fielder, which should afford him plenty of opportunity to live up to Shildt's description of him as a "five-tool player."