Friday, August 14, 2015

Did the Real Jackie Bradley, Jr Finally Stand Up?

We’ve all been waiting. When was it finally going to happen? When would we see it.

I’m sure he was waiting even longer.

Jackie Bradley has been a tease for a couple years now. We all heard the rumors. He was an elite defender. We were going to love watching him roam centerfield. He wasn’t going to wow us with his bat. He wasn’t going to be Mike Trout at the plate. (Which makes sense because there’s only one Mike Trout.) But, he would hit well enough to stay in the game. He’d done so at every level.

Then, he didn’t.

For whatever reason, he just couldn’t get it all together. There were, of course, theories. He wasn’t quite ready yet. It was too much pressure to hand him the center field job. He was a AAAA player, who was exposed in the majors.

From there, it really became a chicken/egg thing. He couldn’t work through his problems without at bats, but he couldn’t get at bats because of his problems at the plate. When he went back down to AAA, he’d hit again. Was that where he belonged? Was it just the reduced pressure?

And, of course, when he was roaming the field at Fenway he would tease us with his glove. Look at those catches. Look at that arm. We’d beg and plead…if he could just hit a little bit that glove would make up for everything else. But, for whatever reason, he wasn’t.

Until lately. In his last six games, Bradley is batting .350. That raised his season average more than 50 points. Suddenly, he’s not staring at the scoreboard and seeing an average almost in double digits. No, he’s still not Mike Trout. But, it’s something. It’s enough to justify him being in the line-up. It’s enough to let him get his at bats. It’s enough to allow him the time to make adjustments. It’s enough to not be an automatic out. It’s enough to give us all we asked for from the plate.

The glove will make up for the rest.

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