Jackie Bradley Jr. is an animal in the outfield, this much we know.
But the Boston Red Sox center fielder struggled mightily at the plate to begin the 2019 Major League Baseball season. Sox fans saw this last year, as well, before Bradley got hot at the dish in the second half and even earned the American League Championship Series MVP.
Now, Bradley really has been finding his swing about a third of the way into the campaign, and is becoming a threat at the plate.
So, what changed?
“It was work that I put in that day to make the adjustment,” Bradley said Thursday, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “Ever since then, I can tell a difference.”
Assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett also noticed a difference in Bradley’s swing.
“I was mixing fastballs and breaking balls from a very short distance, not telling him what was coming,” he said. “He was able to have his way with it, to the point where it was incredible how good he was doing it. It was like this light bulb going on. Most people are going to have a hard time hitting either one from that close. He was hitting both with ease. I was like, ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now.'”
Barkett said he asked Bradley about batting practice, and noted it had a positive impact on the outfielder.
“Since then, it’s just kept going. I asked him today about it,” Barkett said. “He referenced that day, and how impactful it was on him, because of what he learned about himself from the drill that we did.”