Much of the narrative of the offseason and first part of the regular season was whether Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr could finally put things together at the plate. His struggles are well-known, but they were especially loud earlier this year.
There were even talks of sending him down to Triple-A to help him figure things out.
Fast forward to September and while Bradley may not be having his best statistical season, his numbers in the last half of the season have been incredible.
His average lept 55 points in the second half, and his OPS has gone up a whopping 174 points. But the second half surge began even before the All-Star break.
After his OPS hit a rock-bottom .502 in May, things have been skyrocketing for him since. According to Red Sox Stats on Twitter, here are Bradley’s numbers since that day.
So you may ask why a hitter with a league average OPS is such a big deal for the Red Sox? Mainly because of his ability to flip the lineup over to Mookie Betts.
Even after the horrendous start for Bradley, he has a career high in doubles, currently sitting at 31, one higher than his previous career high in fourteen fewer games. If Bradley can connect on a double out of the nine spot, even with two outs, it would bring up Betts with a runner in scoring position.
With 113 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Betts has a .325 average with a 1.210 OPS.
Bradley’s importance comes when the Red Sox will be trying to salvage scoreless innings where the bottom of the lineup starts off the inning.
The offensive struggles of the catcher position, outside of Blake Swihart, are well-known. So getting runs out of the bottom of the lineup will be tough.
Enter Jackie Bradley.
Bradley has a .896 OPS with runners in scoring position, but it drops to .757 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
There will be plenty of factors when it comes to the Red Sox offensive success this postseason. They need a combination of everybody getting hot, plus some clutch performances to win it all.
But the potential that Bradley brings at the bottom of the lineup is something that can make Boston the overall favorite to win the World Series.
Source: BoSoxInjection | Bryson Gordon | September 27, 2018