The year is 2017 and not much has changed. It’s 60 degrees on a good day in May and Jackie Bradley’s struggles provide us great fodder for heckling. Red Sox fans and management once again have to play this cat-and-mouse game with Bradley and wonder when he will fulfill his potential.
Personally, I am so sick of waiting around for Jackie Bradley. Ever since he tore up Spring Training in 2013, he has never lived up to the hype. That year, he hit only .189 in 37 games. The following year he hit .198 as Jacoby Ellsbury’s replacement. Yet, we kept hearing about how it will take time for Bradley to develop. Still waiting.
Defensively, Bradley is elite. A bona fide Gold Glove candidate, his value in the field is indisputable. Offensively, however, what does he bring to the table? He filled in the shoes of Jacoby Ellsbury who, if nothing else, was great at getting on base and stealing bases. Even with speed and range in center field, Bradley’s season-high for stolen bases is just nine.
For the exception of two months in 2016, Bradley’s offensive career has been underwhelming to say the least. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game last year due in large part to his 29-game hitting streak. Outside of that, it would be an understatement to say that he has sucked. Even with that hitting streak, he only hit .267 for the season and 24 of his 87 RBI came in May.
Are Jackie Bradley’s Struggles Even Worth It?
Our aspirations of Bradley becoming a leadoff guy hitting .300 have fallen flat. Instead, we’ve become all too used to seeing him strike out on an outside breaking ball. Yet, we keep hearing the same old lines.
“Give him some time, he’s still young.”
“What about the hitting streak?”
Here’s news: he’s not still young. He’s 27. He’s had parts of five seasons in this league. Out of those seasons, he’s had two solid months.
This year has been an absolute horror show for Bradley. He has a stellar .182 batting average with a whopping two homers and seven RBI. With a pathetic .238 OBP, Bradley has done nothing right. You could say he has been the catalyst of the Red Sox’s offensive struggles. No matter where he has been put in the lineup, he has sucked. There’s no way around it.
So I ask: how much longer are we gonna put up with this crap? Finding a serviceable defensive center fielder wouldn’t be too hard. Finding one that can give more than Jackie Bradley should be even easier. Bradley will be arbitration eligible next year and as a Scott Boras guy, he may not be here beyond this year.
In the case of his career I ask: What season is the anomaly—the All-Star year or all the other ones?