Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. may not be the most dynamic offensive talent, but he can certainly field his position.
Winner of the 2018 American League Gold Glove in Center Field, he is known for his highlight-reel catches, usually for some home run snatch hitters.
When running backwards for a deep fly ball, he often jumps and balances himself at the top of the wall, an incredible display of body control and athleticism.
According to Boston Globe writer Alex Spear, this is something he practices with a goal in mind.
“Since at least 2014, Bradley has been practicing going back to the bullpen and jumping over the fence in hopes of achieving the greatest one-day home run robbery in Fenway’s history,” Spear wrote.
Since at least 2014, Bradley has been practicing running back and forth in the bullpen and jumping over fences in hopes of achieving the greatest one-day home run robbery in Fenway history. https://t.co/NyZ4fJk1KS
– Alex Spear (alexspeier) May 18, 2022
Bradley has the drive to be the best fielder in the center
To be the best, you have to practice like the best, and Bradley definitely puts the time and effort into getting a competitive edge among the center fielders.
Looking at his trajectory and some of his catches, one would think that he deserves more than one gold glove so far.
He is currently 32 years old, so perhaps his best years are behind him, but he is a tough fielder with some high hopes and hops.
The whole baseball world would love to see the catch Spear mentions, and Boston fans must pay for tickets, in part, to see Bradley run his position and some balls in the gaps and near the walls.
It is clear that Bradley has not much to offer with the bat, as he is hitting .189 / .252 / .264 and has no home runs in 2022 so far.
He needs to be an elite fielder to keep the job.