Jackie Bradley Jr. settling in nicely to 2014 Red Sox season

Jackie Bradley Jr. Red Sox center fielder
Jackie Bradley Jr. has settled in nicely to the Red Sox lineup. Credit: Getty Images

It’s been a roller coaster of a calendar year, plus a few months, for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. He made the 2013 Opening Day roster, but lasted less then a month before being sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket – spending the majority of the season there before being called back up in September. He did not make the postseason roster.

Fast forward to 2014 and Bradley Jr. originally didn’t make the Opening Day roster, as he was beat out by Grady Sizemore, but due to an injury to Shane Victorino, he was added to the squad the day the season opened and since that time he’s been able to gain a sense of comfort and establish himself as the everyday center fielder.

“Every single day you’re going to learn and that’s what I’ve been able to do, especially playing everyday lately,” Bradley Jr. said. “It’s just learning, the daily grind and getting to know different pitchers and their strengths and weaknesses.”

Last season in 37 games, Bradley Jr. had a slash line of .189/.280/.337, appearing overmatched at times. In 29 games to open 2014, the 24-year-old is hitting .225/.337/.348, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story as he’s looked much more comfortable at the plate, including totaling 10 extra base hits after having just five a season ago.

Sizemore opened the year as the Opening Day center fielder, but a slow start for the former MVP candidate, combined with Bradley Jr.’s exceptional defense, has allowed Bradley Jr. to man center 22 of the last 24 games.

The Richmond, Virginia native has made some plays where he’s looked like a Gold Glove winner as he reads the ball extremely well off the bat and sprints to where the ball will fall. He’s also showcased a tremendously strong throwing arm, making it difficult for opponents to try and take an extra base on him.


“He gets some of the best jumps on balls of anybody I’ve ever seen,” pitcher Clay Buchholz said. “And that’s saying a lot, having Ells (Jacoby Ellsbury) out there for the last couple years. He’s picked us up a lot.”

Bradley Jr. is a very humble, calm player and person, but when asked this week about how much confidence he has in the field, his eyes lit up.

“A lot,” he said while a bright smile. “I feel like I can go get it.”

While it’s only a month into the season, it’s also worth noting that Bradley Jr. has the third-best WAR (wins above replacement) by a Red Sox position player (0.5), trailing only Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli.

Now getting consistent playing time, it’s been smooth sailing for Bradley Jr. so far in 2014 – a far cry from all the ups and downs of a season ago.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Sports

Belinda Bencic leads crop of young stars serving…

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old Swiss Miss, beat two Top-10 players before suffering a disappointing loss Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…