Jackie Bradley Jr. (born April 19, 1990), is an American professional baseball center fielder who currently plays for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He stands 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighs 200 pounds (91 kg). He was drafted by the Red Sox with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft after being named the 2010 College World Series Most Outstanding Player while attending the University of South Carolina.
Bradley began his college career in 2009 after attending Prince George High School in Prince George, Virginia. Prior to attending college, he had been named to the 2008 Virginia AAA All-State team and was listed as the 40th-best Virginia-based baseball prospect for the 2008 Major League Baseball draft by Baseball America.
With the University of South Carolina in 2009, Bradley hit .349 and scored 69 runs in 63 games. Posting a slugging percentage of .537, he hit 11 home runs while walking 34 times and striking out 31 times. He spent the summer in the Cape Cod League with the Hyannis Mets.
In 2010, he batted .368 and 13 home runs, driving in 60 runs while scoring 56 times in 67 games. Then, he went 10-for-29 at the plate in the 2010 College World Series, earning CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.
Bradley was selected 40th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the supplemental first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. Bradley made his professional debut on August 23, 2011 with the Class-A Short Season Lowell Spinners, hitting .250 in 10 games split between the Spinners and Single-A Greenville Drive. Bradley was named Minor League Defensive Player of the Year by the Red Sox organization for the 2012 season. He hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, 87 walks, and 63 RBIs in 128 games.
Boston Red Sox (2013–present)
Entering 2013, Bradley ranked 32nd overall on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list. After an outstanding spring training, on March 31, manager John Farrell announced that Bradley would be the Opening Day left fielder on April 1 at Yankee Stadium. Although he went hitless in two at-bats, Bradley had three walks, scored two runs, drove in one run, and made a couple of hustle plays on the basepath and in the field in the Red Sox' 8–2 win over the Yankees.
Bradley went 3-for-31 with three RBIs in Boston before being optioned to the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on April 19; Bradley was demoted to accommodate David Ortiz, who started the 2013 season on a rehab assignment, recovering from a right Achilles injury. Bradley was recalled on May 29. He hit his first career home run on June 4 against the Texas Rangers. Bradley was optioned back to Pawtucket on June 8 when Shane Victorino was activated from the disabled list. He was recalled again on July 9, and optioned back to Pawtucket on July 14. He was recalled on September 7. In 37 Major League games of 2013, Bradley batted .189 with 3 home runs, 10 RBI, and 2 stolen bases. With the Red Sox finishing 97–65, the team made the postseason and eventually won the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Bradley still received his first career championship ring, although he did not play in the postseason.
On March 28, 2014, Bradley was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after he was unable to beat Grady Sizemore for the starting center field position, but was recalled three days later after the team placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list. Bradley saw regular time as the team's center fielder throughout the 2014 season, but was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 18 after hitting just .216 with one home run and 30 RBI, despite playing exceptional defense.
On June 25, 2015, Bradley was called back up to play right field for the Red Sox while Hanley Ramírez recuperated with a sore wrist. In a June 30 game against the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, he hit his first home run since May 31, 2014. On August 15, 2015, Bradley became only the eighth player in the modern era with five extra-base hits in one game, recording two home runs and three doubles in six at-bats, in the Red Sox' 22–10 defeat of the Seattle Mariners. His play led to a starting job and widespread speculation that he would be part of the full-time Red Sox outfield in 2016 and beyond.
Between April 24 and May 25, Bradley hit safely in 29 straight games, tying Johnny Damon for the 4th longest consecutive game hitting streak in Boston Red Sox history. His streak came to an end in a loss to the Colorado Rockies on May 26. He ended the 2016 season with a .267 batting average.
In the 2016 offseason, Bradley switched his uniform number to #19, previously worn by Koji Uehara since 2013. Bradley posted his signature with #19 on Hotel Commonwealth's elevator .
On April 8, 2017, Bradley fell to the ground after flying out and left the game. It was reported that Bradley suffered a sprain to his right knee. Two days later, on April 10, Bradley was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Bradley Jr. is the son of Jackie Bradley Sr., a bus driver in Richmond, Virginia. Bradley Jr. is married to Erin Helring; their daughter Emerson Claire Bradley was born on June 2, 2016. Both Bradley Jr. and Bradley Sr. were named for singer Jackie Wilson.
Before each at bat, Bradley writes "M.S." in the dirt in honor of his friend Matt Saye who died in a car accident. Bradley, who was close with Saye, said, "You never know what the next day will bring, if there is a next day. This really all came to me after my best friend died in August. He was like a brother to me. In his obituary, I was mentioned as his only surviving brother. And he was a different race (white). That's how close we were. I know he has my back and he's there supporting me."