By Christopher Frangolini
Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t exactly known for his bat. That’s exactly what makes his 24-game hitting-streak that more impressive.
Over the past 24-games, a span that started on April 24 against the Houston Astros, Bradley has had nine multi-hit games, 17 extra base hits (seven doubles, three triples) and seven home runs and he’s brought his season average up to .422%. As a result, the Sox are 17-7.
This streak won’t last forever, but it’s at least long overdue. Let’s take a look at how Bradley started out his career.
In 2013, when Bradley made his Major League debut, he struggled and hit .189% in 37 games. This prompted the media to ponder if Bradley was ready to hit a major league level, even though he had success in the minors.
We must root for JBJ to start hitting. He’s the best def CF I have seen in 50 yrs of Sox watching, including Lynn, Nixon, Damon and Ells.
— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) August 14, 2014
2014 was no better for Bradley. In 127 games, he hit .198% with one home run and 30 runs batted in. He struck out 121 times in 423 plate appearances.
The media became uneasy with his offensive play. One report from NESN implied that there was a growing impatience with fans, especially at the time when the Red Sox had a crowded out field. “Bradley hasn’t lived up to the hype, and perhaps he never will. There’s still something to be said for keeping the beleaguered outfielder. Let’s have the jury sweat it out a little longer.”
To put into perspective how bad Bradley’s 2014 season was read this September 2014 statement from Peter Abraham in his Boston Globe column…”In 2014, Bradley was the worst-hitting center fielder in the majors. He was demoted to Triple A in August, and when he came back in September, he was 1 for 36.”
NESN was right, it was a good thing the Red Sox organization and their fans “sweat(ed) it out a little longer.”
It’s a good thing the Sox took their time with Bradley and didn’t rush to trade him.