Laurila: On defense and Jackie Bradley Jr.

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on November 4, 2014:

Jackie Bradley, Jr. might win a Gold Glove tonight. He should. The Red Sox centerfielder is an American League finalist at his position along with Adam Eaton and Adam Jones. He easily outpaced both in Fielding Bible balloting, with only National Leaguer Juan Lagares ranking higher.

Then again, Bradley probably didn’t hit well enough to win a traditional Gold Glove. [Yes, the ghosts of Derek Jeter and Rafael Palmeiro continue to haunt.] The 24-year-old rookie put up a scary-bad .198/.265/.266 slash line in 423 plate appearances.

His defensive numbers, which included 14 defensive runs saved, tell another story. Bradley was immaculate with the glove and his peers took notice. Mike Trout told me, “He takes away hits. He made some unbelievable catches against us in Cali.” Kevin Kiermaier said, “He’s made a name for himself as far as defensive goes. He can lay out to make a diving catch and he can show off his arm by throwing guys out.”

Bradley had 13 assists and a throw that didn’t result in an out showed off his arm strength every bit as well the baker’s dozen. In a game at Fenway Park, speedster Jarrod Dyson scored on a sacrifice fly to medium-deep center, barely beat Bradley’s laser beam to home plate. “I was booking it and the play was closer than I thought it was going to be,” Dyson told me afterward. “All of your great arms are in the corners, and his ranks up there with anyone’s.”

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Originally published: November 4, 2014. Last Updated: November 4, 2014.