Jackie Bradley Jr.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.|
Bradley with the Red Sox in 2017
|Boston Red Sox – No. 19|
|Born: April 19, 1990|
|April 1, 2013, for the Boston Red Sox|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2019 season)
|Runs batted in||354|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jackie Bradley Jr. (born April 19, 1990), nicknamed JBJ, is an American professional baseball center fielder who plays for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He stands 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighs 200 pounds (91 kg). He was drafted by the Red Sox with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft after being named the 2010 College World Series Most Outstanding Player while attending the University of South Carolina. He made his MLB debut in 2013, and was on the 40-man roster for the 2013 World Series champions, though he didn't play in the postseason. Bradley was an All Star in 2016 and he was named the most valuable player of the 2018 American League Championship Series. Known especially for his capabilities in the outfield, he was awarded a Gold Glove in 2018.
Bradley attended Prince George High School in Prince George, Virginia. He was named to the 2008 Virginia AAA All-State team and was listed as the 40th-best Virginia-based baseball prospect for the 2008 Major League Baseball draft by Baseball America.
With the University of South Carolina, Bradley began his college baseball career with the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team in 2009. As a freshman, Bradley hit .349 and scored 69 runs in 63 games. Posting a slugging percentage of .537, he hit 11 home runs while walking 34 times and striking out 31 times. He played collegiate summer baseball with the Hyannis Mets in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
In 2010, Bradley batted .368 and 13 home runs, driving in 60 runs while scoring 56 times in 67 games. Then, he went 10-for-29 at the plate in the 2010 College World Series (CWS), earning CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.
The Boston Red Sox selected Bradley in the supplemental first round, with the 40th overall selection, of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. Bradley made his professional debut on August 23, 2011 with the Class-A Short Season Lowell Spinners, hitting .250 in 10 games split between the Spinners and Single-A Greenville Drive. Bradley was named Minor League Defensive Player of the Year by the Red Sox organization for the 2012 season. He hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, 87 walks, and 63 RBIs in 128 games.
Boston Red Sox
Entering 2013, Bradley ranked 32nd overall on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list. After an outstanding spring training, on March 31, manager John Farrell announced that Bradley would be the Opening Day left fielder on April 1 at Yankee Stadium. Although he went hitless in two at-bats, Bradley had three walks, scored two runs, drove in one run, and made a couple of hustle plays on the basepath and in the field in the Red Sox' 8–2 win over the Yankees.
Bradley went 3-for-31 with three RBIs in Boston before being optioned to the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on April 19; Bradley was demoted to accommodate David Ortiz, who started the 2013 season on a rehab assignment, recovering from a right Achilles injury. Bradley was recalled on May 29. He hit his first career home run on June 4 against the Texas Rangers. Bradley was optioned back to Pawtucket on June 8 when Shane Victorino was activated from the disabled list. He was recalled again on July 9, and optioned back to Pawtucket on July 14. He was recalled on September 7. In 37 Major League games of 2013, Bradley batted .189 with 3 home runs, 10 RBI, and 2 stolen bases. The Red Sox finished the year with a 97-65 record and clinched the AL East division. Bradley did not participate in any playoff action but was still on the 40-man roster at the time when the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.
On March 28, 2014, Bradley was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after he was unable to beat Grady Sizemore for the starting center field position, but was recalled three days later after the team placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list. Bradley saw regular time as the team's center fielder throughout the 2014 season, but was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 18 after hitting just .216 with one home run and 30 RBI, despite playing exceptional defense.
On June 25, 2015, Bradley was called up to play right field for the Red Sox while Hanley Ramírez recuperated with a sore wrist. In a June 30 game against the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, he hit his first home run since May 31, 2014. On August 15, 2015, Bradley became only the eighth player in the modern era with five extra-base hits in one game, recording two home runs and three doubles in six at-bats, in the Red Sox' 22–10 defeat of the Seattle Mariners. His play led to a starting job.
Between April 24 and May 25, Bradley hit safely in 29 straight games, tying Johnny Damon for the fourth longest hitting streak in Red Sox history. Bradley's streak came to an end in a loss to the Colorado Rockies on May 26. At the time he started his hitting streak, he was batting .222, and when it ended, he had raised his average up to .350. This streak, along with excellent defense, earned him AL Player of the Month recognition for May. Bradley was selected to the All-Star Game, the first of his career. He started in left field, and was 2-for-2 at the plate. He ended the 2016 season with a .267 batting average, 26 home runs, and 87 RBIs, having appeared in 156 games. In the 2016 postseason, he batted 1-for-10 (.100) as Boston lost to the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series.
On April 8, 2017, Bradley fell to the ground after flying out and left the game. It was reported that Bradley suffered a sprain to his right knee. Two days later, on April 10, Bradley was placed on the 10-day disabled list. On August 22, Bradley injured his left thumb while sliding towards home plate and left the game. The next day, on August 23, Bradley was again placed on the 10-day disabled list due to spraining his left thumb. For the 2017 regular season, Bradley appeared in 133 games, batting .245 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs. In the postseason, he was 3-for-15 (.200) with a home run and five RBIs, as the Red Sox lost to the Houston Astros in the Division Series.
Bradley was again the everyday center fielder for the Red Sox, and drew national attention for his stellar defense, but struggled at the plate until mid-August. On August 11, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles, Bradley homered twice to lift the Red Sox to a 5–0 victory. For the season, Bradley struggled offensively, hitting .234 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs in 144 games.
On October 14, in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, Bradley drove in three runs with a double in the third inning, giving Boston a 5–4 lead in a game they would go on to win, 7–5. In Game 3, he hit a grand slam off of Roberto Osuna in the top of the eighth inning, extending Boston's lead from 4–2 to 8–2, which would prove to be the final score. In Game 4, he hit a two-run go-ahead home run off of Josh James in the top of the sixth inning, putting the Red Sox up 6–5 en route to an 8–6 final. Bradley finished the series with nine RBIs, all from those three hits, and was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving Bradley his second career World Series championship title. Bradley later received his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Bradley returned to his center field role with Boston in 2019, appearing in 147 games while batting .225 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. He made contact with the lowest percentage of pitches he swung at in the strike zone (76.4%) of all major league batters. In 2019, on defense he led all American League center fielders in assists, with 10, and had the fastest reaction but took the worst route of all major league outfielders (-2.0 vs. average).
Bradley Jr. is the son of Jackie Bradley Sr., a bus driver in Richmond, Virginia. Bradley Jr. is married to Erin Helring; their daughter Emerson Claire Bradley was born on June 2, 2016. Both Bradley Jr. and Bradley Sr. were named for singer Jackie Wilson. He is naturally right handed, but learned to hit left handed when he was eight years old.
Before each at bat, Bradley writes "M.S." in the dirt in honor of his friend Matt Saye who died in a car accident. Bradley, who was close with Saye, said, "You never know what the next day will bring, if there is a next day. This really all came to me after my best friend died in August. He was like a brother to me. In his obituary, I was mentioned as his only surviving brother. And he was a different race (white). That's how close we were. I know he has my back and he's there supporting me."
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