By MARK SIMON
Over the last two seasons, the most we heard from fans about a player’s Defensive Runs Saved total were tied to Jackie Bradley Jr. finishing with -1 and -2 Runs Saved in center field.
Bradley had previously had seasons of 16 (2014), 14 (2016) and 15 (2017) Runs Saved and people wondered why his totals weren’t at that level.
Well, in what has been a miserable year for Red Sox fans, we can tell you that for at least 40 games, Bradley’s defense has been very good. He’s saved 6 runs, which ranks tied for 4th in MLB.
Bradley’s highlight tape has a good array of terrific catches. He’s tied with Kevin Kiermaier for the MLB lead in Good Fielding Plays among center fielders with 9. Three plays from that list rank as the catches that netted him the most run value this season.
Two of them came in the first three days of the season.
This one had a catch probability of 32%
And this one had a catch probability of 24%
The other came in early August and also had a catch probability of 32%
Bradley has since had a busy last two weeks, recording 5 more Good Fielding Plays, four for catches, and a throw to nail Jonathan Villar of the Blue Jays at second base. This one required an impressive reach to track down.
Last season, MLB introduced its jump stats, which showed that Bradley had on average the most feet covered within the first 1.5 seconds that the ball was in flight. However, his overall routes to balls ranked last.
A week into the season, our Video Scouts gave Bradley a Defensive Misplay for a bad route on a ball hit by Andrés Giménez of the Mets. Bradley has not gotten one of those since then. He rates as the center field leader in sliding and diving catches with 8 and is in a tight race for the most sprinting catches at the position.
Bradley will be a free agent after this season. Though he’s now in his 30s, he’s shown that he may still have something left on the defensive side.