Anyone who went to the three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics this week no doubt saw Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting cannonballs all over Fenway Park, including a grand slam on Monday and a multiple home run game on Wednesday. This wasn’t always the case, though. Back in 2014 when Jackie Bradley Jr. started making consistent appearances with the Red Sox, many worried about his hitting. While there was no question at all back then about Bradley Jr.’s defensive skills; he was a Gold Glove nominee in his first year, he was barely hitting over .200 for most of the season. But now that Jackie Bradley Jr. is finally beginning to turn power into runs for the Red Sox this season, his offensive abilities are no longer in question.
Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 17 games as of May 11th in the series against Oakland. Bradley Jr.’s performance included hitting .571 with eight hits, three home runs (including a grand slam in the 6th inning in the first game of the series), and 13 RBIs, including two home runs in the last game of the series as the Sox outscored the A’s 40-15 during the three game series. What’s most amazingly awesome about this series, though, is that it finally proves that Bradley Jr. is now a consistent and competent hitter, something he struggled with for the last two seasons. As I watched Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting cannonballs over the Green Monster, as well as into the Sox bullpen, I smiled as I realized he’d finally found his groove as a hitter.
I felt bad for Bradley Jr. last season when he got sent down to Pawtucket. After having been with the Sox for as long as he had, to be sent down must have been a real blow to his ego. But he didn’t let it get the best of him, as Bradley Jr. could now very well be possibly turning into a future Hall of Famer. Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the Sox ace in the 1970s, told me last summer that he was already then Willie Mays from the waist town given his speed.
As of this season, we’re finally seeing Willie Mays from the waist up.