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JBJ: Elite Defender With Some Pop

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by gedman211, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. gedman211

    gedman211 Member SoSH Member

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    In June of 2017, Jackie Bradley Jr hit .353 with an OPS of 1.009. As an exercise, I compiled his recent hit totals subtracting that particularly torrid month. Beginning with the All Star break of 2016, and continuing through today, including the 2 post-seasons, and subtracting June of last year, JBJ is 149 for 684. A batting average of .216. He turns 28 next week. I am beginning to have my doubts as to whether he will be the Red Sox everyday center fielder at the end of the season.
     
  2. Boggs26

    Boggs26 Member SoSH Member

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    1,102
    But what's the alternative? JDM as full time corner OF with Hanley the full time DH (guaranteeing that his option vests) and Moreland at 1st full time?

    I think that's really the only internal alternative so then we have to ask this question: is Moreland's bat better than JBJ's by enough to outweigh the drop in defense from JBJ to JDM - I'm not entirely sure what math to do there but my guess is the answer would be a pretty resounding No.
     
  3. TheYaz67

    TheYaz67 Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, his defense adds back in quite a bit of value, as reflected in his WAR and other numbers, despite his low BA (lowest of qualified CFs in 2017) - his HR power is decent for a ML CF, but only 19 doubles last year - most of his peers were well above that, I mean, even Ellsbury had 20 last year, in about 140 fewer plate appearances...
     
  4. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    10,376
    As long as he remains a 2+ WAR player (he had a 1.9 fWAR in 2015, that's his low), he's going to stick around. He's always been a streaky hitter. If we're going to cut out any hot streaks he has to judge him, then of course he's not going to look good. That's not how things work, though.
     
  5. Boggs26

    Boggs26 Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I just pulled numbers for last year, and it's unquestionably a net loss to move JBJ out and Moreland/Ramirez in.

    Bradley
    O war - 2.0
    D war - 1.3

    Moreland
    O war - 1.0
    D war - 0.2

    JDM
    O war - 4.7
    D war - -1.0

    Hanley
    O war - -0.1
    D war - -1.2

    Note: these are all BRef numbers
     
  6. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    I think part of the equation is how much is JBJ going to make on the open market once he hits free agency? Now, he's arbitration-eligible in 2019 and 2020, and becomes a free agent in 2021, so it's not like decisions need to be made NOW. But he's already making $6.1 million. He was a 2.2 fWAR player in 2017, and though he's gotten off to a slow start, his projected fWAR for 2018 is in the mid-2's. So he's well worth the $6.1 million. He could be one of those guys the Sox just keep for the next three years and then let go in free agency.

    Or they could potentially move him. They have the highest payroll in baseball, and JBJ's salary (which will almost certainly go up in 2019 and 2020) may be one way to reduce it to allow them to make other moves. Moreover, his value also would interest other teams so he's probably got some good trade value.

    I don't love the idea of Martinez in the OF full-time, so the Sox would have to replace Bradley somehow. The problem is that the Sox don't have any real minor league OF prospects to speak of. Their best minor league OF is....Rusney Castillo, but he'd cost them MORE than JBJ would so that would make no sense. And obviously Castillo, at 30, wouldn't be a long-term solution there anyway.

    So to replace JBJ, the Sox, if they don't want Martinez as a full-time OF, would need to then acquire someone else. A veteran worth anything is going to be more expensive than JBJ so why bother? They could possibly acquire a nice prospect but that's really a future piece and how would they get said prospect? So the only real replacement they'd be likely to get would be a marginal player on the cheap. So that would be a pretty serious downgrade at an important position.

    About the only thing I can think of is the Sox finding a contending team that has a quality OF prospect that's close to making the majors, but the team cannot afford to wait for that prospect because their time is NOW. So they see JBJ as someone they can immediately put into CF, improve their team now, and he can be their CF for the next 2.5 years at least. Then the Sox pull the trigger, send JBJ to this team for said prospect, and then either live with Martinez for the rest of the year, play the new kid they just acquired, or get a lesser, inexpensive veteran to plug the gap for the rest of the year before moving the prospect to the majors in 2019.

    OR....maybe if they just decide they want to trade JBJ's defense for improved offense, a JBJ-for-Puig kind of deal could make sense for both teams. Their salaries and contract situations are very similar and maybe the Dodgers would value what JBJ brings (world-class defense and no drama) and the Sox would be willing to take on Puig to add his bat.

    If Martinez was a better fielder, then yeah, trade JBJ and just plug Martinez into LF and Benny into CF. But that isn't something the Sox probably want to do. Dealing JBJ just isn't an easy thing.
     
  7. Detts

    Detts Member SoSH Member

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    Eric?
     
  8. Boggs26

    Boggs26 Member SoSH Member

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    Yes, a trade this year or in the off season is a possibility if anyone rates JBJ as worth his arb estimates. Where the Sox are in a good position is that they don't need to replace him with a CF, so JBJ could be traded for a corner OF who is a better fielder than JDM and a better hitter than JBJ and probably the Sox get better in that scenario. Who has a young(ish) pre-arb corner OF who is blocked or being pushed out by a prospect and needs a CF?

    That's probably the best scenario, just not sure if the trade partner for it exists
     
  9. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Defense never slumps, and taking out his best month is cherry-picking.
     
  10. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Yep. The Sox can easily carry his inconsistent bat IF the other guys do what they're supposed to do.
     
  11. simplicio

    simplicio Well-Known Member Gold Supporter

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    And if the others don't do what they're supposed to, we're in for a long season of 1 run wins and his defense becomes all the more important.
     
  12. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

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    Allowing one less run is the same as scoring one more run. We have arguably the best OF defense in MLB and one of the best starting staffs, JBJ completes the puzzle. We have enough offense to win this year if the bullpen is just average or slightly above (and of course, health).

    I personally love 1 run wins; its like finding change in a sofa cushion. And it's efficient.
     
  13. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    I can't read this conversation without thinking back to the morning of August 9, 2015, when Jackie sported a career line of .188/.267/.268 in 601 PA over parts of three seasons, and many people had given up on him having a viable major league career, except perhaps as a defensive-specialist 4th OF. At that point, I'm guessing a lot of us would have agreed that if JBJ could ever manage a mediocre offensive year like his 2017, that would be a near-miracle, and enough to make him a useful player.

    Then Jackie took off like a rocket, and didn't come back to earth for about another year. And now we're judging the current/recent JBJ against that 2015-2016 guy, rather than against the bottomless well of offensive suck he had been previously.

    But if you look at JBJ's career line as of the 2016 ASB, at the peak of his offensive success (.238/.317/.409), it's essentially identical to his line since then (.238/.318/.401). Maybe this is really who he is, and maybe the apparent transformations along the way should just be seen as macro-streaks.

    For a CF, that low-.700s OPS is borderline offense, but with defense as good as Jackie's you can live with it. And I agree that the alternative of making JDM a full-time OF and giving Moreland JBJ's starts is at best shuffling deck chairs, and probably makes the team worse.
     
  14. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Can we retire this? JBJ has had 25 PAs with a .158 BABIP. He’s not making any more soft contact than usual and not whiffing any more.

    He’s a perfectly fine MLB center fielder who was hurt for a bunch of last year. Without the injury, he’s probably a Top 10 player in the league at his position, and those guys get paid like Dexter Fowler.

    The Sox are not going to expend the few resources they have for a marginal upgrade in center field. If we’re gonna overreact to 30 PAs, might as well mention Benintendi’s running one of the lowest exit velocities in baseball right now.
     
  15. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    Read the original post again. There's nothing in it about the first 30 PA of 2018. Questions about how good a player JBJ really is, what we can realistically expect from him going forward, and how secure his job should be, seem valid and non-reactionary to me, and certainly grounded in much more than the first week of this season.
     
  16. Jed Zeppelin

    Jed Zeppelin Member SoSH Member

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    I haven’t really seen anything from Beni to suggest that it would be a good idea to move him to a more difficult OF position.
     
  17. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    And FWIW, I get the sense that Dombrowski is fairly bullish on JBJ. Things can change obviously. But he was a huge booster of JBJ’s defensive prowess when he first was hired (which coincided with JBJ’s killer August that year IIRC) and, by all accounts, turned down a number of offers for him this past offseason.
     
  18. Harry Hooper

    Harry Hooper Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    True, although part of turning down offers could be related to JDM signing so late. DD wasn't going to have much negotiating leverage with anyone if he dealt JBJ and was then desperate to acquire another OF.
     
  19. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    The combination of a lack of internal candidates and little financial flexibility to upgrade without even getting to who would even be available, mean to me that he'll be the guy through the season.

    If they didn't think he'd be the guy, they would have moved him this off season since the market wasn't flush with center fielders.
     
  20. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1,397
    Sure, fair. But do you think this thread would exist if Jackie had started the season 6 for 25 instead of 3 for 25?

    The original post also ignores last year’s injury context to make a by-now familiar (and cherrypicked) point about JBJ’s batting line. It’s as valid as if I were to argue that Jackie hit .282/.366/.464 last year from May 13 to August 22, which are the dates between when he started hitting again after his knee injury and when he hurt his thumb. That’s a .355 wOBA, which is better than Christian Yelich or Lorenzo Cain put up last year.

    This board tends to fixate on Bradley once a month or so. He’s streaky, so it makes sense. But he’s not a problem.
     
  21. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    To my point above about money. And probably there's a better thread for it, but what I was getting at is that JBJ is going to cost some real money in a few years. Is he worth what he'll command? Not sure. And it's just one of many factors looking forward. Here's who's coming off the books in the next few years...

    After 2018
    - Kimbrel ($13m)
    - Pomeranz ($8.5m)
    - Kelly ($3.8m)
    - TOT: $25.3m

    After 2019
    - Hanley ($22m)
    - Porcello ($21.1m)
    - Sale ($13.5m)
    - Moreland ($6.5m)
    - Sandoval ($13.6m) - he is owed $18.6m in 2019, and $5m in 2020, so a savings after 2019 of $13.6m
    - Bogaerts ($7.1m) - but will be more in 2019 because of arbitration
    - Nunez ($4m)
    - Holt ($2.2m) - arb in 2019
    - Thornburg $2.1m) - arb in 2019
    - TOT: $92.1m

    They'll need to determine who they want to keep long-term. I assume Sale will be one, and he will obviously cost way more than $13.5m. Bogaerts, if he's turned the corner, will likely be another one. Kimbrel maybe as well. And if Pomeranz is still pitching well this year, possibly him. I can see them letting Kelly and Porcello go when their contracts are up. Hanley too. Moreland, Nunez, Holt, and Thornburg are all replaceable players. And obviously Pablo's money just disappears.

    So they have some expensive choices coming up, but they also have some big money likely coming off the books to offset that.
     
  22. In my lifetime

    In my lifetime Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    However 2018 to 2019, there are really only a few players who contracts you want off the books (the rest you would gladly keep at anything close to their current contracts, which obviously is not happening)
    Pablo 18.455 in 2019 and the 5 buyout in 20
    HRam 22.750
    Moreland 6.5
    Holt 2.5-3.0 via Arb


    A few borderline decisions depending on performance
    Porcello 21.125 (likely gone since if he pitches well for the next 2 yrs his cost will be prohibitive and if he pitches poorly the RS won't want him)
    Nunez (player option of 4.0, buyout of 2.0 in 2020) - so he likely will take the buyout and get more than 2.0 elsewhere
    Thornburg 2.5 - 3.0 via Arb. his status will depending on his health. If he is healthy likely to be on RS through 2019 via Arb


    So overall that will be about 75MM off the books for a team that starts about 38 MM over the tax threshold this year (threshold going up 13MM)
    So for the years that follow: staying under the tax threshold and keeping Betts (+18 MM/yr), Bogaerts (+15 MM/yr), Sale (+18 MM/yr), Kimbrel (+15 MM/yr) is impossible (in the ballpark of 66 MM just to keep those 4) . In fact, the RS payroll is likely to be much higher than it is now since they will have to pay for a Porcello replacement (could be Pomeranz while using the farm to replace that slot), and either JBJ or his replacement as well as an HRam replacement.
    It is nice having all the young talent, but their days of being young and relatively inexpensive are coming to an end.

    Oh well, enjoy the season and hopefully a nice at least 2 year run.
     
  23. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    If you take away JBJs best month in 2017, you end up with an overall slash line of .216/.294/.355. Terrible.
    If you take away JBJs worst month in 2017, you end up with an overall slash line of .262/.343/.434. More than acceptable.

    He's always been like Brian Daubach though. He is incredibly streaky.
     
  24. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    12,557
    In the last two games it seems like 5 or 6 balls hit to CF were murderous sun balls. He caught em all. He'd leave a gaping hole into which xbh would fall like rain.
     
  25. Buzzkill Pauley

    Buzzkill Pauley Member SoSH Member

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    This is pretty much correct. This is a DDski team, and its wad has been shot on star players for 2018.

    Bradley provides excellent defense and can hit 9th. Unlikely as that may seem to fantasy owners, it’s probably better for the team overall to have that situation continue, rather than try to tweak this or that and end up with every pitcher suffering.
     
  26. Pozo the Clown

    Pozo the Clown lurker

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  27. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    JBJ's got a beautiful swing, and lord knows it's fun to watch 360' fly balls in Fenway - he's just not the power hitting/fly-ball hitter he seems to try to be sometimes. He scorched one this afternoon that might be out at Yankee Stadium, but what use is that in Fenway? He's never been able to be the line-drive, oppo-hitting guy he should have become (SoxProspects wrote of him: "Will need to focus on hitting the other way more in the majors. Tends to hook balls on outer third and roll over them.").

    Maybe this is the one guy who shouldn't sit in on the launch-angle tutorials...
     
  28. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Straw Man

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    I don’t understand the “if you don’t count his best month” way of evaluating streaky players. For example, I don’t think it’d make any difference win-wise if a player were to hit 30 HRs all in one month and zero all the rest, or one HR every five games.
     
  29. Lowrielicious

    Lowrielicious Member SoSH Member

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    Hit all 30 in one game and it starts to get screwy though. It’s a bit like quantum mechanics that way.
     
  30. Heating up in the bullpen

    Heating up in the bullpen lurker

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    And JDM had a should have been caught ball clank off his glove the day Mookie got a rest. I want no part of JDM being even close to a full-time outfielder. I’ll happily take JBJ’s streaky hitting and superb defense.
     
  31. Heating up in the bullpen

    Heating up in the bullpen lurker

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    Yes, this is what I’m seeing so far this season - a lot of trying to pull outside pitches, resulting in ground balls to the right side. Bad enough anyway, but with teams shifting him, impossible for those balls to find holes. Hopefully he can adjust and start taking those to left.
     
  32. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Bradley had a .427 wOBA to the opposite field last year. For reference, that’s a better mark than Corey Seager, Eric Thames, and Joey Votto.
     
  33. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Sure, but if he was hitting .350 with 2 dingers the first week do you think the thread would have been started?
     
  34. tonyarmasjr

    tonyarmasjr Member SoSH Member

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    And my perception is that when he starts going the other way is also when he gets on his hot streaks (is anybody able to look up/put together numbers that confirm that or make me a liar?). The guy TPNJ wants is the guy who has shown he can be a 3-5 win player. He just can't seem to sustain that approach.
     
  35. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    Of course not. But just because a conversation starts in response to what's going on right now, that doesn't mean that its interest and validity are bounded by what's going on right now.
     
  36. Devizier

    Devizier Member SoSH Member

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    When Bradley struggled during his initial run, I figured his upside was Darren Lewis. Obviously his offensive upside -- even with struggles - is better than that, but even Darren Lewis was a useful player. Particularly with the Red Sox.
     
  37. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    If he could figure out how to go oppo more than 24.5% of the time, we'd be having a very different conversation.
     
  38. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    Not really.

    The average LHH went oppo 25.8% of the time last year. That’s a difference of five batted balls per season over JBJ.

    Regardless, it’s more than offset by Bradley’s production. The average opposite field OPS for left-handed hitters in the AL was .789. Bradley’s was 1.011.
     
  39. pokey_reese

    pokey_reese Member SoSH Member

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    That’s probably due to Fenway, no?
     
  40. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    At a certain point it shouldn’t matter, since we’re talking about a Red Sox hitter’s ability to use the wall. But no, he had better numbers away — a .463 wOBA on the road compared to a .398 in Boston.
     
    #40 chawson, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  41. opes

    opes Doctor Tongue Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Good lord. He's had 26 at bats. In 2010 there was guy named David Ortiz that had a slow start to the season. After 7 games, or 26 at bats, he had a line of .154/.241/.269.
    He ended the season .270/.370/.529 with 140 hits, 36 doubles, 32 HRs, 102 rbi's, and 82 walks. Everyone thought he was done. He was 34, but ended up staying in the league 6 more seasons. But it must have been un-impressive because no one bothered to keep track of his stats after that horrible year he played, way back in 2010.
    Pump the breaks man. And like others have said, his defense value cant been easily replaced. Hell, Byron Buxton literally only provides defense value to the twins, and he is a complete black hole at the plate.
     
  42. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    And most of SOSH wanted him released. I don't even want to go back to those threads to see how many times people here insisted that he had a fork in his back. The numbers proved it!
    I'm kinda glad he was our DH for the next 6 years instead of being dumped and picked up by the Yankees.
     
  43. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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  44. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    See: Bogaerts, Xander this past offseason. Now he’s the one guy we can’t have go down.
     
  45. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    I'm a tad lost on what we're disagreeing over here. Do you think that - looking at his outsize success both in relation to his own performance, and also to the leagues - he should NOT try to go opposite field more?
     
  46. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1,397
    This is your original premise—

    —and it’s inaccurate. JBJ hits it to the opposite field at roughly a league-average rate, and he’s well above average when he does.
     
  47. TonyPenaNeverJuiced

    TonyPenaNeverJuiced Member SoSH Member

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    My argument is that he should to hit opposite at an above-average rate. If he were, he would BE an opposite field hitter - not average. You don't call someone who goes opposite field at an average rate an "opposite field hitter."

    The idea is: he doesn't get good result when he doesn't go oppo, therefore, he should go oppo. If instead fo 25% of the time, it was, say, 35%, his numbers would look drastically better.
     
  48. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    In 2017, Bradley hit flyballs and line drives to the opposite field 37.2 percent of the time. That figure ranks 43rd out of 130 major league lefties. (His GB rate to the left side is 11.4, which brings the overall total down, but I'm fine with him not grounding out to short.)

    35 percent overall is pretty extreme. There've been only 40 player-seasons in the last ten years where a LHH has done that, and that list is almost entirely speedy slap-hitting chaps like Chone Figgins, Nori Aoki, and Skip Schumaker (with a couple exceptions like Mauer and Votto). The profile you seem to be describing would either fundamentally change (and worsen) JBJ as a hitter, or raise his expectations to something the level of Joey Votto. Which, to your point, I agree would be nice. But best-hitter-in-baseball-since-Bonds is not a standard we should hold JBJ to.

    There's convincing evidence he tries to go the other way when he's at Fenway. On the road last year, he went oppo 20.9 percent of the time. At Fenway, he did it 28.3 percent. Bradley slayed at Fenway in 2016 (.380 wOBA) and was less good away (.327). Those numbers somehow reversed last year (.285 at Fenway; .341 away) — though his opposite field rates went up. At a certain point, it becomes more of a park dimensions thing than a problem with his approach. Most left-handed hitters are going to struggle pulling the ball in the air at Fenway, but I'd rather he continue to be the .180-.200 ISO guy that he is when he's healthy than overreact to some frustrating warning track flies and become a slap hitter.

    TL;DR, I honestly think Bradley is fine. Streaky and frustrating, yes, but above average.

    If we're going to worry about an outfielder's hitting, we might look at Benintendi. He's currently running one of the lowest exit velocities in the game, right next to guys like Jose Iglesias, Billy Hamilton, and Mikie Mahtook.
     
  49. pokey_reese

    pokey_reese Member SoSH Member

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    But do we have the break down of his directional OPS with home/road splits?
     
  50. Harry Hooper

    Harry Hooper Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    JDM ranged well to make 2 catches in LF last night, but he had absolutely no clue to track the HR that passed high over his head. Somehow getting him some nighttime fielding practice at Fenway with the lights on would be a good idea.
     

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