Streaking Jackie Bradley Jr. becoming patron saint of slow starters

Jackie Bradley Jr., is rapidly becoming an inspiration to every young player who has struggled in his first taste of the major leagues. Bradley, a first-round pick of the Red Sox in the 2011 draft after a stellar college career at South Carolina, was as anemic at the plate in the bigs as he was stellar with the glove. Bradley hit .189 in 37 games for Boston in 2013, then .198 in 127 games in 2014. In sparse playing time in 2015, between trips to Triple-A Pawtucket, Bradley was batting just .121 in 71 plate appearances for Boston. And then, everything changed. In his next five games (August 9-15), Bradley went 13-for-22 with 11 runs, three homers, four doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs. It was the beginning of the next stage of Bradley’s career. In 92 games since that August 9 breakthrough, Bradley is batting .317 with 17 homers, 72 RBIs, 60 runs scored and a 1.005 OPS.  And you know what he’s done lately — Bradley’s current hitting streak reached 27 games on Sunday, when he singled in the fifth inning against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar.  He’s the 12th player since the start of the 2010 season to run up a streak of at least 25 consecutive games with a base hit. Two of those dozen are his teammates, actually; Dustin Pedroia had a 25-game streak in 2011 and David Ortiz had a 27-game streak that started in 2012, took a hiatus while he spent most of the second half on the DL, and picked up with his first 15 games in 2013. The Red Sox franchise record is held by Dom DiMaggio, who had a hit in 34 consecutive games in 1949. Let’s look at how Bradley’s pro

duction during the streak compares to the other 11 players who own those recent streaks of 25 games or more. * He’s batting .408, which is third of the 12 (Ortiz is tops, at .423).* He has a 1.272 OPS, which is second (Edwin Encarnacion had a 1.350 OPS in his 26-game streak in 2015).* He has 29 RBIs, which is third (Encarnacion is tops, with 35).* He has eight homers, which is fourth (Dan Uggla had 15 in his 33-game streak in 2011).* He has three triples, which is tops of the 12. Boston, by the way, is 19-8 in those 27 games. That .703 team winning percentage is third among the 12 longest hitting streaks; the Red Sox were 19-6 (.760) during Pedroia’s 25-game streak in 2011 and the Nationals were 22-8 (.733) during Denard Span’s 29-game streak in 2013 (Span appeared only as a defensive replacement and did not get a plate appearance in one of those contests). Not too shabby for a guy who spent most of his first three seasons trying to figure out how to keep his spot on the big league roster.