Not exactly known for his offense, Jackie Bradley Jr. always manages to turn some heads with his spectacular defense. Right now Bradley is struggling at the plate, but as time progresses, he will get better. Despite having a dismal .632 OPS in 89 games for Boston, Bradley has yet to boot a ball on defense. Playing a total of 769 2/3 innings in the field, he is boasting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Keep in mind, roughly 95% of those innings have came in center field, hands down the toughest position to play in the outfield. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) ranks sixth among all defenders in baseball, despite infield positions getting much more credit in saber metrics than outfield positions historically speaking.
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Fielding is a crucial component of winning a Gold Glove award which Bradley does well, but arm strength is another part of defense where Bradley excels. As an outfielder, Bradley ranks second for assists with 11. Out of center fielders, Bradley is the leader by far. Leonys Martin, who ranks second in outfield assists, has five less than Bradley. Bradley also leads all center fielders in double plays turned with six, beating Martin out by three again.
Statistically speaking, Jackie Bradley Jr. has a strong throwing arm, but one must see it to believe it. To make it even more obvious that he has one of the best arms in the game, he threw a ball from essentially home plate at Fenway Park to the center field bleachers, which stood nearly 400 feet away and 17 feet high.
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Of course, if that is not enough evidence that Bradley has a cannon, then there is one more fact worth sharing—over six years ago, in 2008 when he was in high school, he was clocked at 101 MPH throwing from the outfield by Perfect Game. Not many Major League pitchers can even throw 100 MPH, so it is truly amazing that Bradley can and could back when he was in high school.
With all of the talent in Major League Baseball, Jackie Bradley Jr. tops them all defensively in the outfield. Many view Mike Trout as a premium defender, but he is nothing compared to Bradley. The “Millville Meteor”,as Trout is called, is the better player all-around of the two, but defensively it is clear Bradley, who is nicknamed “JBJ”, has the upper hand.
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When Major League Baseball gives out awards in November, do not be surprised when Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the Gold Glove award.