Red Sox star Jackie Bradley Jr. is in a funk and management is hoping he finds himself sooner rather than later
When Jackie Bradley Jr. broke out last season, there were some that were skeptical. Then JBJ had his famous 29 game hit streak. After a little while, it didn’t look like dumb luck. Bradley Jr. now finds himself hitting .175 with one home run and 6 RBI’s on the season in just 16 games played. Something clearly is not right. This after posting career highs in every offensive category batting .267 with 26 home runs, 87 RBI’s and an All Star appearance. He only has two extra base hits out of his 10 hits. Something is wrong.
His strike out percentage has increased slightly from 2016 going from 25.6% to 26.3% and walks have gone down slightly from 10% to 9.3% but that isn’t the biggest issue. What’s going on? Well for one thing, JBJ is 3 for 36 since April 23rd with no extra base hits and only 2 RBI’s. He’s also struck out 11 times and struck out twice in three straight games.
Simply put, he’s not getting on base. Of course, he wasn’t the only one in a slump, the Red Sox ranked last in home runs and over all power through the first month of the season. Getting on base wasn’t an issue, bring them home however was. Could it be possible that Bradley hasn’t fully recovered from his knee injury? In his second game back off the DL, he hit a moon shot to right field against Baltimore. That beautiful swing was back but, it was short lived as it hasn’t returned since.
So where did that swing go? It’s still there but it’s not getting as much time at the dish and for good reason. JBJ is spending extra time with Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to make some much needed adjustments. In May, Bradley Jr. is just 1 for 14, a .071 batting average and has not played in three of the last five games.
Chris Young has filled in admirably and has earned the starting job with his recent string of solid performances. Young has 2 homers and 9 RBI’s on the season in 22 games and is hitting .275. Literally averaging an extra hit per every 10 at bats. It’s going to be hard not keeping Young in the line up especially when before the series against the Brewers began, he had 2 homers and 7 RBI’s in the last four games including a streak of 2 RBI’s in three straight.
Simply put, he’s earned playing time. So what does JBJ need to do to regain the faith of the manager? Quite a bit and it’s not going to happen overnight, that much is certain.
Personally, I don’t think he’s back to being 100% yet. I think his injury is still affecting his ability to put pressure on his right knee. It’s obvious JBJ needs to adjust his swing as he’s no longer hitting for power. It’s as if his power has disappeared. He’s grounding out and popping out way to frequently. It’s very possible that it hurts to put too much weight on his right knee when he follows through. If that’s the case, he needs to go back onto the disabled list. He’s not doing anyone any favors by playing injured.
If I were John Farrell I’d tell JBJ to go back to Boston, get healthy, rest for a few days and then re-evaluate the situation. If he re-aggravates the knee injury, there’s no telling how long he’ll be out for. A multiple hit game would definitely do wonders for him but the question will be, at least right now anyways, does Farrell have enough confidence in him to give another chance? Time shall tell.
Photo Credit – Patrick Semansky – AP Photo