With his scorching speed and ear-to-ear smile, it isn’t hard to see why Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of the most loved players in the Boston Red Sox farm system.
The swift 23 year old outfielder, who has seen time in 19 games in the Bigs with the Sox this season, is back in Triple A at the moment, and he is tearing it up. Batting .315 with 4 HR and 16 RBI, Bradley Jr. is performing well at the AAA level.
At a cool, damp McCoy Stadium yesterday, Bradley greeted a group of Brown sports writing students (that’s us) a few hours before the third game in a four game series with the the Toledo Mud Hens. Bradley leapt out of his seat and exclaimed a boisterous hello and began shaking students’ hands and offering compliments. Apparently, Jackie is a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, meaning he is automatically a stud.
A few hours later, after a brief rain delay, Bradley Jr. strode to the plate for his first at bat, kicking off the bottom of the first with some entertaining walk-up music. Turning his hips and lashing out at a pitch from Derek Hankins, Bradley lifted a pitch to straight away center. Although it appeared the shot had a chance to leave the ballpark, Mud Hens CF Ben Guez corralled the ball and Bradley looped around second back towards the Paw Sox dugout with the jump in his step still present.
When Bradley Jr. came to the plate in the bottom of the 3rd, Hankins was still pitching quite well. But Jackie found greater success this time than in his first plate appearance , ripping a double to the gap in right center.
Sadly, Jr. was thrown out while making an ill-advised attempt to advance to third on a slow grounder. The Mud Hens’ shortstop (who has an awesome name) Argenis Diaz, gunned Jr. down, causing an aspiring baseball scout in attendance to question Bradley’s baseball IQ .
The next time up, with the Paw Sox down 2-0 in the bottom of the 5th, Bradley Jr. found little success helping the Sox reduce the deficit. With one man on, one man out, Bradley Jr. laced a grounder up the middle to the second baseman Brandon Douglas who bobbled the sharp hit but recovered in time to stop the lead runner and record the second out of the inning. Bradley Jr. was left on first when Paw Sox first baseman Drew Sutton flew out to deep right field.
Bradley Jr.’s next time up came during a magical half-inning for Pawtucket, as the Sox put together a 5 run outburst against the likes of Hankins and reliever Matt Hoffman. With 2 men on, one out, and a loaded count, Bradley Jr. spanked a pitch down the leftfield line into what might be called (by creeps and scumbums such as dbc482) the “pocket” of leftfield.
Bradley Jr. eventually came around to score the third run of the inning and the Paw Sox went on to win 5-4, scoring the go-ahead run on a frozen rope single from the recently-demoted Will Middlebrooks.
Bradley is a pretty cool cat on and off the field. He has some swagger, some speed, cool new braids, and loads of baseball skill. Here at College Sports Town, we all wish him the best in years to come with the Red Sox organization and beyond (we could use some outfielders over in Citi Field… just saying).