Who would have thought that Jackie Bradley Jr. would have a hitting streak over twenty games this season, especially after crafting a mediocre batting average last season? It comes as a pleasant surprise to many to see Bradley Jr. hitting well. Personally, I’m very happy to see Bradley Jr.’s bat on fire, but I can’t help but wonder if his hitting will stay consistent as the season progresses. So has Jackie Bradley Jr finally found stride in his career, or is this another fluke?
Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak has gotten some talking about how far he can stretch it. Twenty games is nothing to ignore, but it’s not enough to begin considering him a future Red Sox legend. Let’s look at some numbers to get a better sense of this idea. Joe DiMaggio holds the record for the longest hitting streak with 56 games in 1941, breaking Willie Keeler’s record of 44. Pete Rose tied Keeler in 1978, but since then, few players at all have come even close to shattering DiMaggio’s record, which will probably never be broken. The Red Sox team record wouldn’t be easy to break either. If Bradley Jr. were to hit safely in 27 games, he’d only be tied for seventh with Dom DiMaggio (Joe’s brother), who initially set the record with 34 games in 1949. Bradley Jr. would then have to surpass Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, Nomar Garciaparra, and David Ortiz, who’s already stealing all the thunder in his final season in baseball. So is Bradley Jr.’s streak impressive? Yes, but not so much when compared to other Red Sox players.
I’m not trying to undermine the way Bradley Jr. is playing this season. It’s easy to assume that Bradley Jr. finally found stride in a career that’s had its ups and downs. He’s exceeded so many people’s expectations, including mine. So has Bradley Jr finally found stride? Perhaps, but I want to see what he does the rest of the season before I give a hard yes. Let’s make sure this isn’t another fluke where he hits well for a few weeks before dropping off again like he did last year. More importantly, let’s see how Bradley Jr. does before we get too invested in him.