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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: JACKIE BRADLEY JR. OUTFIELDER BOSTON RED SOX

The Boston Red Sox outfield no doubt is the envy of most teams around the league.  After all the team's three outfield spots are filled by three guys who have been big prospects coming up their system and one who has become a true superstar who has the numbers to be the top overall pick in 2017 fantasy baseball.  The latter of course is Mookie Betts who in 2016 became a stud five-tool player who really is the only guy that can challenge Mike Trout for top overall honors but he is also joined by top 2017 prospect Andrew Benintendi and 2016 breakout performer Jackie Bradley Jr.  The subject of this post is Bradley Jr. though and in terms of 2017 fantasy baseball, he carries some "BUST" potential which we will get to.  However before we delve into that, here are the numbers that Bradley put up in 2016 that entered him firmly into the fantasy baseball community's circle of trust:

.267
26 HR
87 RBI
94 R
9 SB

Looking at those numbers, Bradley contributed everywhere outside of batting average and so he seemed to finally make good on his potential that first made him a sleeper back in 2014.  Unfortunately for Bradley it took some very rough stints with the team in 2014 and 2015 before he started figuring out Major League pitching.  Alas we are here to throw some cold water on Bradley for 2017 as there are some troubling signs that need to be discussed.

In delving into the numbers some more, Bradley Jr. still has not solved his previous contact issues as his 22.5 K/9 rate last season was still quite high; albeit down from the ugly 27.1 mark in 2015.  Bradley Jr. did also get a bit of BABIP luck (.312) as well to help push the average up some more.  However as good as Bradley was early on last season, opposing pitchers seemed to find some holes to attack in the second half as his average during that span sank to an awful .233.  Making matters more concerning was the fact Bradley Jr's OPS against lefties was a woeful .665.  AS a result, the Red Sox were forced to dump Bradley down toward the bottom of the order which of course is not a great spot to be in terms of helping the counting numbers.  Now while some will point to the impressive 26 home runs, Bradley Jr. accomplished this in a massive 636 at-bats which takes some of the glow off of that number.  With speed that doesn't translate to a high number of steals and an average that will likely continue to hurt his owners, Bradley Jr. all of a sudden looks much less of a guy you want to build around.

In conclusion, while there is no denying the progress Bradley Jr. made last season with his offensive haul, he is still quite rough around the edges overall.  All Boston Red Sox players get drafted a bit higher than their numbers would suggest given the high visibility of the locale there and that will just add to the disappointment Bradley Jr.'s owners will feel.  Again solid player for your outfielder 3 spot but nothing more.

2017 PROJECTION:  .265 25 HR 86 RBI 82 R 7 SB  


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