From All-Star to All-Overrated.
That’s the road former University of South Carolina baseball player Jackie Bradley Jr. has traveled from his breakout 2016 season to now.
The center fielder, who helped the Gamecocks win back-to-back College World Series championships, is preparing to join the Boston Red Sox in spring training.
Along with his bats, gloves and clothing, Bradley will be bringing a sizable chip on his shoulder with him to Florida. That’s because he was named to The 2018 MLB All-Overrated Team by Yahoo! Sports.
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And he knows it.
Bradley retweeted the post that listed him as one of the nine most overrated everyday players heading into the 2018 season.
After leaving USC, Bradley was drafted by the Red Sox. He made it to the major leagues quickly, but was shuttled back and forth between Triple-A and Boston for much of his early career.
That was the case until 2016, his breakout season. Bradley hit .267 with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs. He earned an appearance in the All-Star Game.
But in 2017, his numbers dropped. Bradley hit .245 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs. That is what the majority of Yahoo! Sports baseball writers latched on to as they classified Bradley as overrated.
“Bradley is a strong defensive player, but the offense has varied over his career. He turned in a strong season in 2016, but then saw his numbers take a dive again in 2017,” was what the analysis was on yahoo.com. “His career batting line is just .239/.318/.407.”
While the Yahoo! baseball writers leaned on Bradley’s declining stats in 2017, it was another number that they singled out that they used against Bradley. His age.
“You might think he’s still pretty young, but Bradley is almost 28. There may not be a ton of room for improvement. He’s already in his prime.”
Bradley was joined on the All-Overrated Team by two players who aren’t currently on big league rosters and several more former All-Stars who are in their 30s.
In spite of the damning critique, Bradley has been one of the most sought after players in baseball this offseason. Few players still under contract have been included in so much speculation during the hot stove season as Bradley.
The trade rumors were partially because Bradley is a quality outfielder, who is a plus defender in center field, and a dangerous – if inconsistent – threat with the bat in his hands. It was also because he’s eligible for free agency following the 2020 season.
As if he already didn’t have something to prove, Bradley could head to Fenway Park this year with a serious ax to grind. He has distinguished himself in the past and USC fans would never doubt the player they call JBJ.
Bradley Jr. helped the Gamecocks win back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011 and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the 2010 College World Series.
Yahoo! Sports MLB All-Overrated Team
- C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
- 1B: Eric Hosmer, Free agent
- 2B: Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers
- SS: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs
- 3B: Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants
- OF: Jose Bautista, Free agent
- OF: Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox
- OF: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
- DH: Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles
- SP: Matt Harvey, New York Mets
- RP: Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees