Devils in the Outfield
Well, the 2020 baseball season is a wrap and the LA Dodgers are your World Series Champions! But I wanna bring it back to the east coast, and talk about the Red Sox and their now dwindled outfield. Namely one specific outfielder: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Little history of JBJ
Since 2011, Jackie Bradley Jr has been apart of the Boston Red Sox organization after being drafted 40th overall in the MLB draft. Bradley would spend the next 2 seasons in the minor leagues. In 2013, MLB ranked Bradley as 32nd overall on the MLB top 100 prospects list. Red Sox manager John Farrell announced he was going with Bradley as his center fielder to start the year. And it starts….
Jackie Bradley’s stats are very up and down. While some may see him as an amazing defender, he’s a below average hitter. His best year was in 2016 where he batted .267 with 26 home runs, and 87 RBI’s in 156 plate appearances. Bradley also had an amazing hit streak of 29 games, tying Johnny Damon for the longest hitting streak in Red Sox history.
In 2018, Bradley was apart of the defensive trio of himself, Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi. The trio would help move the Red Sox into the postseason and go for another World Series. Jackie, and the rest of the outfield was mostly silent, yet Bradley showed a few signs of life. His 3 run double in game 2, his grand salami in in game 3, and his 2 run home run in game 4 were notable mentions. With Bradley earning 9 RBI’s off those 3 hits, and his defense in that series earned him MVP honor for the ALCS.
Now, is Bradley an amazing center fielder? Eh. Is Bradley a good hitter? God no! Then why do we still have him in the outfield? That to me is a great question. Is Bradley a good ball player? Sure. But that’s all he is. GOOD. He’s not amazing, he’s not the best, he’s just good. Sure, he can make a catch over his shoulder on the run. And yes it belongs in a highlight reel. Yet how many defenders have been doing that within the current age of ball? And those players are not well known either. Yes his defense is good. But it comes with ballerina style catches that at times are unneeded or spectacular. He’s no Dottie Hinson. If Bradley can do a split either in the outfield, or even behind the plate while catching the ball, I’ll eat Uncle Elmore’s socks!
And his hitting……..COME ON! I expect this out of most catchers, even maybe some 1st basemen. But your starting center fielder? Most guys average .260-.280 batting avg! AVERAGE! This guy’s a .239 hitter! And that includes this year. Who knows what it would be if it was a full season. Bottom line: He can’t hit! Sure he’s had some clutch moments, yet he’s also struck out, flown out, and grounded out in clutch moments as well. He’s no David Ortiz. Never will be. There’s only one BIG PAPI!
Out the door!
My opinion still stands. Bradley should have been out of Boston a long time ago. He’s a great minor league hitter. Yet when it comes to big league ball? He’s a liability. Only person that should have a .225 batting avg at the end of a full season is either your catcher, or at times your power hitter. which the power hitter will throw up home runs, RBI’s and some strike outs and walks. But Bradley isn’t a catcher, nor a power hitter. Yeah he had his 29 game hit streak. Once that ended what did he do? Batted close to .200!
For the money he’s receiving, I’d get him out of Boston. You can get the same defense, as well as better hitting for less money, and have more of a chance at those clutch situations that Bradley can give you. Cuz when I do watch a game, I cant recall how many times I said “oh, here’s an out” and watched it happen.
In closing, I’d rather have Mookie Betts back, but that’s another story, for another time.