Thank You, Jackie Bradley Jr.

ookami7m

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Watching those defensive highlight reels make me wistful for the 2018 OF but what really struck me was how little respect other teams had for JBJs arm. We all know the glove, but the number of great throws he made were amazing.
 

nvalvo

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Much was made of the Sox' "neuroscouting" in discussions of Betts, whom they identified pre-draft with a video game as someone who might have elite pitch recognition. But I suspect that there is a similar story about Bradley.

Bradley is the distinctive player of the Statcast era, which corresponds roughly with his career. What it has revealed is that on many of his best plays, he "reacts" before the batter makes contact, moving in the right direction only two tenths of a second after the pitch has left the pitcher's hand. This is absolutely amazing to me, and it has revealed the particular source of Bradley's excellence.

But the Statcast Jump stat has three components, "reaction," "burst," and "route." Bradley is so-so at burst, and actually has poor route efficiency according to Statcast. But he is the runaway leader in the "reaction" component.

In 2016, he was 1st.
In 2017, he was 1st again, this time by an outlandish margin, separated by the 2nd ranked CF by as much distance as the 2nd from the 12th.
In 2018, he was 1st.
In 2019, he was 1st.
In 2020's small sample, Bradley was 2nd by a small margin behind Trent Grisham.

I submit that that is a rare level of dominance in a single stat, especially during a golden age of CF defense.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I'm 55 and have watched a ton of baseball in my life. I never enjoyed watching anyone play defense as much.

Hope he knocks 'em dead in Milwaukee.
He’s certainly at or near the top for me as well. What most stood out for me were his body control and field awareness. Just remarkable. I remember watching Lynn, who was fearless, but who didn't always seem to know or care where the wall was. Watching Byron Buxton here is similar - great athlete and fielder - but you can only run into a wall so often before the wall wins.

JBJ always seemed to know where he was and how to make the play without getting himself killed. Watch those mixed tapes and see how many times he is able to make the catch and roll or brace himself before impact. That ability is rare, and it allowed him to play aggressively and make plays others can’t or won’t. Really sad to see him go.

Edit/add: To Nvalvo’s point, I wonder whether JBJ’s “poor route running” is a function of him trying to position himself in the best way to make the play and be ready for the next step (throw, wall avoidance, etc.). Something more than see ball, get ball.
 

nvalvo

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He’s certainly at or near the top for me as well. What most stood out for me were his body control and field awareness. Just remarkable. I remember watching Lynn, who was fearless, but who didn't always seem to know or care where the wall was. Watching Byron Buxton here is similar - great athlete and fielder - but you can only run into a wall so often before the wall wins.

JBJ always seemed to know where he was and how to make the play without getting himself killed. Watch those mixed tapes and see how many times he is able to make the catch and roll or brace himself before impact. That ability is rare, and it allowed him to play aggressively and make plays others can’t or won’t. Really sad to see him go.
The fact that he learned this lesson in college, snapping his wrist on a diving catch, is how we were able to draft him at all.

He had been seen as a top-10 pick after a huge two-way sophomore season for College World Series winners South Carolina, hitting .345 in the tournament, including 2/5 in the final against UCLA's Gerrit Cole, but then struggled in his Junior year after the wrist injury and the resulting surgery.

He slipped a bit, and we took him with the 40th pick.
 

Snoop Soxy Dogg

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My dad had a massive stroke in February 2013 before passing away on April 3rd of that year. The 2013 Spring Training was all about whether JBJr would come up with the big squad and was a welcome respite from the grim homefront. The last game I "watched" with my dad from his room at Mass General was opening day against the MFY in which Jackie made his debut. He acquitted himself well, drawing a few walks, scoring two runs and knocking one in as the Sox won behind Lester 8-2. I'll always be grateful to the 2013 Sox for the happiness they brought my mom, me and the rest of my family during an otherwise deeply sorrowful time. And, when I think of that team the first thing I think about - although he would turn out to be only a small contributor - is watching JBJr making his debut on opening day with my dad.

Godspeed, Jackie.
Besides the catches and the hot streaks, those walks against CC are among my best memories of JBJ. Count full, some of those pitches were soooo crazily close, to this day I'm shocked he didn't offer. At his best, the kid had a serious batting eye. Godspeed indeed.
 

StuckOnYouk

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Seemed when he was on fire he would look to hit with authority to all fields, and when he went through droughts, he would be pull-happy and his head would fly off the ball all the time. Maybe it wasn't as simple as that but seemed like it from my armchair hitting coach analysis.

Regardless, he was incredible to watch in the field and that catch in Baltimore might never be topped for me for the rest of my Sox-viewing life.
 

PhabPhour20

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Thanks for the memories Jackie.

I had back surgery in early October 2018. Then I had a complication which hospitalized me flat on my back for over a week. I watched almost every game between every team that postseason and it really got me through. Jackie had a lot to do with that.
 

JimD

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Thanks for the endless number of highlight-reel catches and the timely hitting in the 2018 ALCS that allowed the Sox to topple the Astros.

Good for him for getting his payday, such as it is in 2021. Damn shame that he could never consistently put it together with the bat - he'd be fetching a contract north of $100 million if his offense could even remotely approach his consistently elite defense.
 

GreenMonster49

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Too many to list, but this wasn't in the compilation (that I saw)

https://www.mlb.com/news/jackie-bradley-jr-robs-walk-off-homer
Two great things about that catch. First, Bradley makes it look like Camden Yards is his home field--he never looks for the wall; he just knows exactly where it is. Second, either that day or the day before, noted radio troll Adam Jones was scoffing that Bradley's defense was not going to win a game for the Red Sox. (Maybe someone with more of a stomach than me could dig that one up.)
 

S. H. Frog

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Yeah, thank you. JBJ had been my favorite Sox since he came up. This is a pretty sad day. I hope he continues to play well for the Brewers, and his being there will make them easy to root for, as a side interest.

Remember when he went of on Houston in the ALCS? The pool shot triple? The grand slam? That was awesome
 

S. H. Frog

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Also, in 2018, he was the keystone of an outfield that had fans of other teams scratching their heads thinking it was bad luck not good coverage that kept putting gloves under their line drives
 

nvalvo

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One less reason to watch the Red Sox this year.
See, this I don't get. Bradley is my favorite active ballplayer, and I am sad we didn't retain him. But he got a deal better than what I predicted the Sox should give him (2/$18), and I understand it. I might actually watch some Brewers games this year to check in on him.

But this Sox team is an inchoate bag of Tools-y madness. They may not be good, but they should be very interesting, and not that many things need to go right —

1. SP health is at least okay, and Sale returns effective in the second half.
2. Four of Bogaerts, Devers, JDM, Vazquez and Verdugo play to their career norms.
3. Dalbec gets his strikeout rate under 35%.
4. Franchy continues and extends the glimmers of progress he showed last year with his contact skills.
5. Renfroe bounces back to his pre-2020 career norms.
6. We can pick up another good reliever at the deadline.

— for them to be really good. Do I think this team is probably a contender? I do not. But none of those things, individually, is all that unlikely.
 

Ale Xander

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Thank you JBJ, you were the best defensive player I've ever seen in person and it was a pleasure watching you play. Your dad is great too. Good luck in Milwaukee.
 

teddywingman

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See, this I don't get. Bradley is my favorite active ballplayer, and I am sad we didn't retain him. But he got a deal better than what I predicted the Sox should give him (2/$18), and I understand it. I might actually watch some Brewers games this year to check in on him.

But this Sox team is an inchoate bag of Tools-y madness. They may not be good, but they should be very interesting, and not that many things need to go right —

1. SP health is at least okay, and Sale returns effective in the second half.
2. Four of Bogaerts, Devers, JDM, Vazquez and Verdugo play to their career norms.
3. Dalbec gets his strikeout rate under 35%.
4. Franchy continues and extends the glimmers of progress he showed last year with his contact skills.
5. Renfroe bounces back to his pre-2020 career norms.
6. We can pick up another good reliever at the deadline.

— for them to be really good. Do I think this team is probably a contender? I do not. But none of those things, individually, is all that unlikely.
I don't really even care if they're good or not. While understanding the reasons the roster needed a rebuild, my interest in the team's success will be gone for a while. It's an emotional reaction to losing the greatest outfield in Red Sox history, who were all home grown, lovable characters.
 

Ferm Sheller

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One of my favorite Red Sox players of all-time. Provided a lot of exciting moments and was/is an all-around class act. This is a sad day.
 

LoweTek

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I'm going to go a little bit old guy here.

JBJ is definitely the best RS CF I have seen, ahead of Fred Lynn even, except for...

I have never seen anything like Reggie Smith patrolling CF at Fenway.

He was my favorite in those days even with Yaz around.

I wish JBJ the best and I would have liked to see the RS do what they had to do keep him. If he stays healthy he will go down as the best defensive CF of his generation, without a doubt.

Thanks JBJ.
 

WheresDewey

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I've had what I thought was an irrational love of JBJ since his debut. I marveled at his prowess with the glove and maintained a hope that he would break out as a hitter with his hot streaks becoming the norm.

Reading this thread made me realize how much he is appreciated by Red Sox fandom, and I was not irrational. Best of luck with Milwaukee, Jackie. I'm still hoping you break out with the bat, but I just wish it had been with the Sox.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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I'm going to go a little bit old guy here.

JBJ is definitely the best RS CF I have seen, ahead of Fred Lynn even, except for...

I have never seen anything like Reggie Smith patrolling CF at Fenway.

He was my favorite in those days even with Yaz around.

I wish JBJ the best and I would have liked to see the RS do what they had to do keep him. If he stays healthy he will go down as the best defensive CF of his generation, without a doubt.

Thanks JBJ.
Of course I agree. I got to meet a hang with Reggie when I was younger. I saw him throw a ball from deep centerfield at Fenway on the fly to homeplate. He had an arm. But the smoothest and best defensive centerfielder I ever saw play was Paul Blair.
 
Dec 28, 2015
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I thought Jackie was the best IMHO and I have seen all the good ones since Piersall. Fred Lynn was great too and Jackie owed him for the padding Tom Yawkey ordered put up after Freddy crashed into the wall during the 1975 World Series. The Jackie catch that comes first to mind was the game saver against Trey Mancini in 2019. I would put it up here except I don't know how. (Maybe you should have a workshop for lurkers.)

Also, I know the need to reset payroll, but how much would it have cost us this year to give Jackie the same deal Milwaukee gave him? Let's say the team payroll with Jackie's 12 million reaches $220,000,0000 which is $10,000,000 over the tax threshold, what percentage do we pay as a three time consecutive offender, and would there be a draft penalty? Just wondering.
 

jaytftwofive

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This sucks!!!. I'll miss him. Knew it was coming I guess. I just saw in a globe article that during the 4 seasons the Killer Bees played together, they were first in the majors in assists, first in UZR. 3rd in defensive runs saved, and 3rd in double plays started. But alas as Newman would say, that was a long time ago. Not really just seems like it.
 
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jaytftwofive

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Coco Crisp was damn good also. We forget about him after Judas Ellsbury took over or they platooned or alternated. It seemed the two were hurt a lot. Wasn't it Crisp who made that spectacular catch against the Mets in June of 06?? That is one of the greatest catches in Red Sox history. Not too many better really.
 
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brs3

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I don't really even care if they're good or not. While understanding the reasons the roster needed a rebuild, my interest in the team's success will be gone for a while. It's an emotional reaction to losing the greatest outfield in Red Sox history, who were all home grown, lovable characters.
This is where I'm at. Why should I invest my emotions in Rafael Devers if he'll end up being traded in 2 years because the cash strapped Boston Red Sox can't afford him in his prime? Enjoy the next 2 years, then watch him win a title elsewhere? What am I even doing?
 

ShaneTrot

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This is where I'm at. Why should I invest my emotions in Rafael Devers if he'll end up being traded in 2 years because the cash strapped Boston Red Sox can't afford him in his prime? Enjoy the next 2 years, then watch him win a title elsewhere? What am I even doing?
You have a right to your opinion. But this ownership group has delivered 4 titles, I think they know what they are doing. Do I wish Mookie signed long-term here? Yes, but it didn't work out. I love Benintendi and Jackie but they are not All-Stars and I like Verdugo more as a player than either one of them. Do I hate that they are carrying $32 million on their payroll for Price to pitch for the Dodgers the next two years? Yes, but their balance sheet will be pretty clean going forward. They will spend. If this team could only develop starting pitching, the Sox wouldn't have to pay exorbitant sums to get it.
 

brs3

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You have a right to your opinion. But this ownership group has delivered 4 titles, I think they know what they are doing. Do I wish Mookie signed long-term here? Yes, but it didn't work out. I love Benintendi and Jackie but they are not All-Stars and I like Verdugo more as a player than either one of them. Do I hate that they are carrying $32 million on their payroll for Price to pitch for the Dodgers the next two years? Yes, but their balance sheet will be pretty clean going forward. They will spend. If this team could only develop starting pitching, the Sox wouldn't have to pay exorbitant sums to get it.
True. If you told me in 2003 that the Sox will win 4 titles in less than 2 decades, but will also regularly rebuild the team and shed fan favorites, I would sign up without hesitation. This particular rebuild is brutal. I think it's okay to be a little critical. I look forward to eating crow about my overall disappointment on the actions of the last year and (not entirely) irrational dislike of Verdugo.
 

chawson

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True. If you told me in 2003 that the Sox will win 4 titles in less than 2 decades, but will also regularly rebuild the team and shed fan favorites, I would sign up without hesitation. This particular rebuild is brutal. I think it's okay to be a little critical. I look forward to eating crow about my overall disappointment on the actions of the last year and (not entirely) irrational dislike of Verdugo.
I understand the sentiment here, but I'm curious if there's another team you're thinking of that has been competitive over the last two decades while not shedding fan favorites to some degree. Off the top of my head, the Yankees, Tigers and Giants all tried to keep the band together at certain points and it didn't go well.

The window of productivity is a lot smaller than it used to be, for a lot of reasons (international scouting, the steroid ban, etc.) I don't mean to suggest you shouldn't feel this way (and I'm trying to avoid rehashing the Mookie debate), but I think the issue may be more endemic to MLB than the Red Sox.
 

LogansDad

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This is where I'm at. Why should I invest my emotions in Rafael Devers if he'll end up being traded in 2 years because the cash strapped Boston Red Sox can't afford him in his prime? Enjoy the next 2 years, then watch him win a title elsewhere? What am I even doing?
I'm not as far down this road as some of you, as I still love the Sox and, after taking most of 2019 off from watching baseball due to personal/professional stuff going on, and then 2020 being what it was, I am irrationally excited about this Red Sox season, even though I know they will likely be a middle of the pack team. We've been exceedingly lucky going on 20 years now.

That said, losing Mookie/Beni/JBJ within a year of each other hurts a lot. I absolutely understand the people who are having trouble getting excited for the team because of it. I have definitely moved along the slider from being a "Red Sox Fan" much further towards just being a "Baseball fan whose favorite team is the Red Sox". I will be watching A LOT of Mookie, Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Kyle Lewis, the White Sox, etc. this season, for sure.
 

uncannymanny

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Sucks to see Bradley go. I’m a sucker for great defense, especially in CF.

Didn’t somebody here take this photo?

B0E91C55-792D-48F3-B928-0F23019D0EDD.jpeg
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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Definitely the best defensive center fielder I've seen in a Red Sox uniform. A classy guy but I do think it was time for both the organization and JBJ to move on. Thanks for entertaining us, and best of luck.
 

aksoxfan

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At times I thought he was another Willie Mays, but then he would go into a long batting slump. Without a doubt one of the most magnificent athletes ever to grace an outfield. I wish him well. Thank you for your time in Boston, Mr. JBJ.
 

Gash Prex

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As somebody who got to know JBJ and his family a little, it’s a sad day. They are fantastic people and will miss him roaming center field for the Sox. Best center fielder I’ve seen - his instincts were tremendous.

I’ll always remember the grand slam against Houston and his series
 

cantor44

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Dec 23, 2020
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I do believe the Red Sox front office is progressive in the best sense. Though it's worth noting, in a park and city that has wrestled with a racist past, that they have lost two talented, dynamic, and appealing homegrown African American stars two years in a row. Not that demographics should drive roster building, but the loss of Betts and JBJ, and so the utter absence of African American players on the big league roster, surely will not help expand the fan base at a time when baseball is losing fans. (As an aside, we can look back to the impulsive and risky resigning of Sale and Evoldi as potentially a direct impediment to keeping the much more vital B boys ... who knows, maybe both wanted to move on regardless, but why keeping the Betts-JBJ-X core was not front and center then, and a huge extension given to a guy who couldn't really pitch much at the end of 2018 and still had a year left in his contract was prioritized instead, will always mystify me).
 

Wily Mo Lester

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Very happy for JBJ and his family, but disappointed to see him go. He's my favorite current professional athlete and I was hoping his consistent monster offensive seasons I'm convinced are still to come would be for the Red Sox.

This is where I'm at. Why should I invest my emotions in Rafael Devers if he'll end up being traded in 2 years because the cash strapped Boston Red Sox can't afford him in his prime? Enjoy the next 2 years, then watch him win a title elsewhere? What am I even doing?
You know Devers has already won a title here, right?
 

Adirondack jack

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Much was made of the Sox' "neuroscouting" in discussions of Betts, whom they identified pre-draft with a video game as someone who might have elite pitch recognition. But I suspect that there is a similar story about Bradley.

Bradley is the distinctive player of the Statcast era, which corresponds roughly with his career. What it has revealed is that on many of his best plays, he "reacts" before the batter makes contact, moving in the right direction only two tenths of a second after the pitch has left the pitcher's hand. This is absolutely amazing to me, and it has revealed the particular source of Bradley's excellence.

But the Statcast Jump stat has three components, "reaction," "burst," and "route." Bradley is so-so at burst, and actually has poor route efficiency according to Statcast. But he is the runaway leader in the "reaction" component.

In 2016, he was 1st.
In 2017, he was 1st again, this time by an outlandish margin, separated by the 2nd ranked CF by as much distance as the 2nd from the 12th.
In 2018, he was 1st.
In 2019, he was 1st.
In 2020's small sample, Bradley was 2nd by a small margin behind Trent Grisham.

I submit that that is a rare level of dominance in a single stat, especially during a golden age of CF defense.
Goes along nicely with the unscientific point I wanted to make that other good CF's will end up on the highlight reels on plays that JBJ makes routinely. Similar to another very good outfielder, JD Drew. People who are really good at things make it look easy and JBJ made centerfield look easy at Fenway Park. He seemed like a good dude to boot, easy guy to be a fan of. Would not be shocked to see a career year out of him yet where he competes for a MVP. The hot streaks are tantalizing.


View attachment 39337
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Great pic.
 

brs3

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Very happy for JBJ and his family, but disappointed to see him go. He's my favorite current professional athlete and I was hoping his consistent monster offensive seasons I'm convinced are still to come would be for the Red Sox.



You know Devers has already won a title here, right?
Yes. I was implying it will suck to watch him win one elsewhere while the Red Sox continue being mediocre.
 

Rovin Romine

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I loved following him here.

We've seen some defense first fielders, but not only was Bradley as good as, or better than them, he'd occasionally go spinach-Popeye and just clobber the ball for a bit.

On April 24 of 2016 the Sox were in third place at 9-9.
A 29 game JBJ hit streak later, and they were 29-17 on May 25th, two games in the lead.