Despite being one of the most impressive outfielders in baseball, the Red Sox Gold Glover winner needs to produce at the plate.
Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston
It’s perhaps one of the most sensitive topics within the walls of Red Sox Nation – Jackie Bradley’s lack of offensive production. What’s potentially more curious is why this particular point of conversation carries such a high sense of passion.
There’s no denying JBJ’s overall contributions while in a Red Sox uniform. He’s a human highlight reel while patrolling centerfield and it’s worth making an argument that the World Series championship doesn’t happen last season without his performance against the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
Regardless of his sparkling defensive efforts, Bradley’s career has been defined by an inability to find consistency at the plate. He’s a fantastic defensive contributor, just ask Ryan Brasier how he feels, but there needs to be production. JBJ is in the midst of a season that has seen him hit a mere .142, a .170 slugging percentage while combined with no homeruns and only 5 RBI’s.
Thankfully, there are statistics that suggest improvement for the struggling Gold Glover winner. He has posted a .217 BABIP (he’s posted no less than .246) which suggests that there’s been a sprinkle of bad luck embedded within his struggles. While he’s bound to improve in this area, his strikeout rate and overall lack of plate discipline is a sincere source of concern. As of now, Bradley is striking out in 30.9% of his at-bats, which ranks in the bottom 9% in all of baseball.
Jackie Bradley needs to improve at the plate, and he knows that. The reality is that a Red Sox club that has started off slow needs to keep consistent bats in the lineup, which has led to Michael Chavis getting work in the outfield and more of J.D. Martinez playing in the field.
If the Red Sox outfielder is able to hit between .230 – .240, there’s no doubt that he’ll be in the lineup every day, but the Red Sox are in a position where offensive output is at a premium. There’s a significant difference between irrational criticism and holding people accountable. It’s okay to hold Jackie Bradley Jr. accountable for his offensive output, while appreciating everything that he brings to the Red Sox club. He’ll turn it around, but until that point, there may be less JBJ in the lineup.