Jackie Bradley #41 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: April 19, 1990(age 23)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#40 overall) in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina
Al Skorupa: Jackie Bradley was someone scouts and SDs had a shortlist for the 2011 1st round from early in his freshman year at South Carolina. Bradley was a revelation as a freshman and sophomore. As a frosh, Bradley would see his team knocked out of the Chapel Hill Super Regional, but that was the last time his college season ended with a loss. The next two seasons he would lead his team to back to back National Championships.
Bradley’s draft stock was marred by a Junior season wrist injury that saw him miss a significant amount of time. Wrist injuries are known for sapping power, and Bradley’s coincided with the introduction of the new, power sapping BBCOR bats. Questions were raised about how much power Bradley could hit for with wood. He’s done much to answer those questions with a.473 SLG as a pro.
The strength in Bradely’s game is that it’s polished all around. He’s got excellent feel for the game of baseball, and his instincts help him on both sides of the ball. Bradley has a plus hit tool and a mature approach at the plate that should quickly translate to major league success. He’s not a bad runner, though he’s far from a burner. Still, he fits well in center field because of his excellent reads and jumps. He’s not overly physical or athletic, and is a tad undersized at 5’10”. Given his size, I don’t expect Bradley to show a whole lot of over the fence power in the big leagues. Overall, I would still expect him to be a strong hitter for a center fielder. Bradley really has a lot of appeal on a list like this as he’s a nearly major league ready above average center fielder.
Chris Blessing: Of all the prospects I haven’t seen in person, Jackie Bradley is probably the guy I’ve discussed with more contacts than anyone else. The story I’ve been told isn’t necessarily whether this kid will make it to the bigs since the consensus out there is he is a future major league regular in center; it’s how good of a player he can be as a regular in the majors.
I’ve heard from some scouts and other contacts that Bradley projects to be an above average major league centerfielder. I’ve heard from others that he is likely to be a league average contributor. Having only watched him on MILB.tv, I saw a kid with a much more mature skill set than the other players his age/level. Jackie Bradley should be in the big leagues real soon and will be an asset for several years to come. Just don’t expect an all star caliber centerfielder.
JD Sussman: While fantasy owners may not recognize Bradley as a standout, there is a lot of real life value in an elite leadoff hitter with above average defense. As Al mentioned, Bradley isn’t going to be a major home run threat, but he won’t get the bat knocked out of his hands like some undersized hitters. With more than doubles power, pitchers are going to have to respect that Bradley can put a good swing on the ball. The range of outcomes Chris states jives with what I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he got on base enough to justify a July appearance or two.
Fantasy Outlook by Al Skorupa:
Jackie Bradley entered camp with no expectation of making the major league squad. We’re a little more than halfway through March and that situation has dramatically changed. Some injuries to other players played a part, but Bradley’s really strong play in camp has forced the team’s hand. Bradley looks every bit the dynamic player he was when he was at his best for the University of South Carolina.
He’s probably still a better real life player than fantasy player, but someone who hits like Bradley can help any team. Expect a well rounded outfielder who can probably reach the teens in home runs and steal 10-20 bases. He’s not guaranteed playing time this season by any means, but if he comes up and hits it will be hard for Boston to send him back down.