Monday, July 07, 2014

Sorry Folks, Jackie Bradley Jr. Still Sucks

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2 for 4 in Sunday's 7-6 loss to Baltimore. And did you know he also made a great catch? And that he also threw an Oriole out at the plate? His 10th outfield assist of the season! And he drew a walk, but not just any walk, an 11-pitch walk! Eleven pitches!!!

Sorry, I'm not excited by a pair of singles. Especially since Sunday was only JBJ's 12th multi-hit game of the year.

I'm not excited by 11-pitch walks. Especially since JBJ has only walked 25 times in 2014.

Outfield defense is nice, but on its own it does not excite me. If it did I would spend my spare time watching Darren Lewis highlights.

Jackie Bradley Jr. still sucks. There's no diplomatic way to say it. He's sucking. He sucks. He has fewer hits (55) than strikeouts (80). JBJ is 56th of 58 full-time outfielders in batting average (.218). He's 52nd in OBP (.298), and dead last in slugging (.310).

He's not a Major League outfielder. Not in 2014 at least. Nor should he have been forced to try to be a Major League outfielder. The Red Sox were negligent and left the role vacant, putting JBJ in a situation that was beyond his development as a player.

Bradley only reached AAA in 2013. In 374 plate appearances with the PawSox he hit a decent .275 with a nice OBP of .374. But in 107 big league plate appearances in 2013, he was severely overmatched. He hit .189. He struck out 3 times as often as he walked. This trend continued in 2014 spring training, and continues in the regular season. He actually slugged higher (.337) in 2013 than he has in 2014.

JBJ did nothing to earn a permanent spot on a Major League roster. The Red Sox failed at filling the vacancy left by Ellsbury, and so Bradley assumed the job. It's like a company promoting an employee with one month's experience, who struggled in the job, to a management position because they forgot to hire a manager.

It should be tough to crack the starting nine, especially on a big-market, World Series winning team like the Red Sox. Players should have to earn their way to a starting spot. Ellsbury did that in 2007 by hitting .452 in AA Portland, then .298 in Pawtucket with 33 stolen bases. He took advantage of his big league opportunity by hitting .353 in the Majors that year, and then doing well in the postseason.

Dustin Pedroia earned his spot with his .384 OBP in Pawtucket in 2006.

We're in the middle of seeing Brock Holt earn a roster spot with his play. He has 19 more hits than Bradley this season, in 28 fewer ABs.

JBJ earned a look at the Majors, he earned a shot. But he has done nothing to deserve to stay on an MLB roster, let alone be a starter. The Red Sox need to come back in 2015 with a roster that reflects this, not one full of vacancies that forces players into roles that are beyond their development.

Photo Credit:
Jim Rogash/Getty Images