There have been a ton of great hitters in the Red Sox lineup this season, hence the reason they have the best record in all of baseball. With Mookie, J.D., Bogearts, Benintendi and Pearce, this offense can and will haunt every pitchers dreams. There is however, a particular player in this lineup that doesn’t get enough credit. A man who is one of the more important players on this team. That man’s name is Jackie Bradley Jr.
I myself have been on board with JBJ from the start. But many people weren’t. He’s always been looked at as a guy who can field very well but can’t hit. The problem with him is he can really struggle at the plate. He performs poorly against lefties, and can go cold against anyone. He started out 2018 hitting well under .200, but it climbed back up at the end of June.
This was only the beginning of the JBJ redemption tour to the haters. In the month of July, JBJ hit .260 with an .801 OPS. Not bad, right? It would only get better. In the month of August, Jackie has hit .291 with an .861 OPS, and since the All-Star break he’s riding an .854 OPS. He’s climbed his average up to around .230 now and has an OPS over .700 now after having it below that mark for most of the season. He also loves hitting at Fenway as his numbers have been particularly better there this year. He’s hitting .276 with and OPS near .800 in 59 games in Boston.
As I said above, JBJ is one of the most important players on this team which is something most don’t realize. There is absolutely nobody else I’d ever want roaming around in center field than this man. If you hit any ball in his general area, forget it. You might as well just put your head down and do the walk of shame back to the dugout. Unless he misplays the ball on purpose, there’s about a 0.0001 shot he’s not going to catch it. He’s catching everything. His range is just off the charts. What’s the best part about everything I just said? The fact that I haven’t even mentioned his arm yet.
Up here is Bradley back in 2014 throwing a ball over the center field wall from behind home plate. His arm has only gotten stronger since. It defies the laws of physics. It’s just stupid. He throws guys out left and right on a nightly basis and can throw up to 103 mph, and pretty accurately too. I feel like we almost take for granted what he does in center field that we think its normal. You really start to notice how valuable a certain guy is when he’s not playing. I can’t trust anybody like I trust JBJ in center field especially at a place like Fenway. He is an absolutely privilege to watch every night and the Red Sox are lucky to have him.
Nothing is out of reach for Jackie Bradley Jr. pic.twitter.com/N150kJFDJK
— NESN (@NESN) July 29, 2018
Jackie Bradley Jr. may not be the best hitter on this dangerous Red Sox offense. But he is certainly no scrub and someone to take lightly. His hitting has only been improving all year, and if he’s not the most elite defensive center fielder in the game I don’t know who is.