Bobby Bradley was viewed as an instant fix for the Indians but he’s been far from it.
Bobby Bradley was called up from the minors at the start of June, despite hitting just .196 in the minors previously. He was beaten out by Jake Bauers (and apparently for a reason) to start the season, and in turn, Bradley struggled at the alternate site before the Triple-A season started, where he then struggled again.
Bradley is now struggling on the main roster. He’s improved his batting average some, with four hits in his last three games, raising his average from .210 to .222 but he also has double the number of strikeouts as he doses hits. The problem falls on the fact that Bradley is a home run hitter and has just two home runs since July 9. Part of the issue is the fact that Bradley was hurt for a few weeks in August, which obviously hurt his home run pace.
Despite that, he’s still just sitting at .222 and 12 home runs. This may seem “ok” to some fans, but something that needs to be pointed out is that his batting average in the minors has seemingly declined each and every year in the Tribe’s farm system. Not only that, it declines the higher he’s called up.
This has all made September very important in his evaluation. Some will contend that injuries have slowed him down and that it should give him a pass but injuries are part of the game. The Indians gave Bradley Zimmer far too many times to get right and he’s a shell of himself. The Tribe needs to learn from Zimmer in the case of Bradley. Don’t let the injuries be a reason to keep giving him opportunities.
None of this is to say throw out Bradley, but a player will show you who he is. Bradley has struggled to hit the ball for most of his pro career, having six stops in the minors where he hit below .250. That’s against talent that will mostly never see the majors. If Bradley can’t hit them, what makes anyone think he can hit major league pitching?
It’s still early but concerns aren’t misplaced about Bobby Bradley
If you’re a power hitter that struggles to hit, you really aren’t going to find many defenders. Luckily for Bradley, there are a few instances recently as to why you don’t give up on talent too quickly. Those names are Jesus Aguilar, Gio Urshela, and yes, Jake Bauers.
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Aguilar is in Miami right now, having a decent season. Aguilar struggled a bit in 2019, causing the Brewers to give up on him after his All-Star season for them, but counting 2018, 2021 and the shortened 2020 season, Aguilar has hit really well. He hit for 100+ RIBs in 2018, was hitting on pace for 100 RBI’s in the 2020 shortened season (on pace to hit 108 RBI in a 162 game season), and is sitting at 92 RBIs right now in Miami.
Urshela has been a .293 hitter in New York, and that’s despite a loaded crop of guys around him.
Bauers, for all the grief he got early in the season, is having a solid year. He’s hitting a better average than Bradley is for the year (.229 for Bauers, .222 for Bradley), but since joining Seattle, Bauers is hitting .255 for the Mariners and is striking out far less than Bradley is. Now, they’re a wash as far as “who’s better”. One hits more frequently, one hits better, but they both have huge flaws in their game.
The Indians rushed to give up on all three of those men so it’d be wise to give Bradley more time (or find a new hitting coach). Bradley is only 25 after all and is team-controlled until he’s 31.
Regardless of if you’re team ‘Give Him More Time’ or team ‘Get Him Out’, everyone should agree that the last month of the season will show us what Bradley is really about. Can he rebound and have a good finish to the year or will his poor hitting and high strikeouts be too much to really overcome?
The way he ends his season will help give fans a better idea of what to expect from him in 2022.