Aug 9, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) hits a three RBI triple in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jackie Bradley, Jr.
2015 Stats: .249/.335/.498, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 43 Runs
Remember when people questioned if Bradley would ever hit enough to stick at the major league level? He’s always had one of the best outfield gloves in the game, but this season we finally saw his bat break out.
Bradley’s struggles at the plate continued to plague him in the brief time he spent with the team in the first half of the season, when he his .133 in his first 30 at-bats. He had been hitting down in Pawtucket, which continued the trend of Bradley producing at every minor league stop of his career. He just wasn’t able to catch up with big league pitching. That changed when the Red Sox coaching staff helped him adjust his swing to eliminate a toe-tap in his routine that was slowing him down.
The results of this altered approach at the plate were significant, as Bradley produced the best month of his career. He hit .354/.429/.734 in August and finished the second half with an .891 OPS that put him in the top-20 in the league after the break.
Was this a small sample size mirage or a sign that Bradley really has figured out how to hit? His September decline may have many rushing to assume the former, but he remained productive for too long for it to have been a fluke. Bradley may not approach those outstanding August numbers again, but if he can settle in at anything resembling his second half numbers (.267/.352/.539) he can still become a very valuable player due to his Gold Glove caliber defense.
Next: Travis Shaw