|Always a fan favorite, Jackie Bradley Jr turning it around.|
Jackie Bradley Jr, a player on the Boston Red Sox that has struggled to stick at the Major League level, has broken out.
The world is upside down. The sun is rising from the west. Hell has frozen over.
They all apply when you look at the comeback kid that Bradley Jr has become in August of this 2015 season.
He was called up to Fenway for the third time this season on July 29th, sporting a stunningly awful .121 AVG, which would plummet even further to a abysmal .102 AVG by August 5th.
At this point it seemed only a matter of time before Bradley Jr would be resigned to the ranks of players who might have the defensive skills, but are just not able to figure out Major League hitting. Ben Cherington, the Red Sox General Manager, has the trade phone in one hand and the stats sheet for Bradley in the other trying to decide when and where to sell him off to.
But hold the phone.
We are not ready to trade off this promising, maybe the best center fielding glove the Red Sox have, not just yet as his bat has awoken. In just a few short weeks Bradley Jr has turned the corner, he has figures it out and the results are flowing in like a broken Colorado River dam. Since 6 August he is slashing .484 / .543 / .1032, his batting average has climbed back out of the cellar and is currently nesting at .250 and we now have a player that chases Felix Hernandez out of Fenway with his tail between his legs. Bradley Jr accounted for six of the 12 hits that King Felix gave up in just 2.1 innings pitched and he put up a historical seven RBIs of the 22 runs scored against the Mariners yesterday.
Yesterday, Jackie Bradley became the youngest Major Leaguer to record at least five extra-base hits in a game in the last 100 years.— PJ (@Red33Sox) August 16, 2015
Interim manager Torey Lovullo noted that Bradley Jr has found a calm and easy approach at the plate. "That foot is down," Lovullo said of his approach. "His hands are back. His head is on the ball. He's able to see what's a ball or a strike. There's no rush or hustle to his swing. There's just a flow and timing. It's allowing him to see what's happening. He's surveying the strike zone and that's the most important thing to being a successful hitter."
So where does this leave the Red Sox with their over full outfield and pile of potential waiting to move into the big leagues?
With Bradley Jr finally emerging offensively it just sparks the increase in excitement around a team that can and should be so much better than it is. With 2016 coming sooner the better for this years Red Sox, Ricky Doyle on NESN summed it up best, "...the noise surrounding Bradley isn’t lessening nowadays. It’s just a different kind of noise — chatter built on optimism rather than pessimism — and it’s music to the Red Sox’s ears."
Nobody is expecting Bradley Jr to sustain this level of hitting, but any kind of production is exactly what the Red Sox need from a center fielder. One thing is for sure, there has been very little change to the way Bradley Jr conducts himself both on and off the field. He is keeping it real and taking time before and after the game for fans that wait at the back of Fenway near player parking.
Here's a small sample of why he remains a fan favorite throughout the Red Sox Nation.
@JackieBradleyJr great game and thanks for taking some time with the fans#classy professional pic.twitter.com/UulGYeyNbQ— Jim Palmer (@OHraidersAD) August 16, 2015
@JackieBradleyJr Thanks for taking a pic with my little cousin. You're a true class act Jackie pic.twitter.com/Rqa73Mo5DP— jared (@Jared_smull) August 16, 2015
@JackieBradleyJr what a class act pausing for the kids (and big kids) after a great game! pic.twitter.com/CzKHhQnfac— Stefanie Coxe (@StefCoxe) August 15, 2015
Have a day @JackieBradleyJr! & what a guy taking the time to take pictures with all the fans! Keep up the good work! pic.twitter.com/54I1u2Ztjd— Jake Morris (@DisfellaJMO) August 15, 2015
More by Eric D. Schabell