OMAHA, NE - JUNE 29: Jackie Bradley, Jr. #19 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates with the Championshop trophy after defeating the UCLA Bruins in game 2 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 29, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Gamecocks defeated the Bruins 2-1 in eleven innings to win the National Championship. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
I'm not much of a draft guy.
Sure it's fun when you're at home on a video game console, but for your IRL draft I start caring after the first selection is made. The one of the few times I did care was back in 2008 when the Astros selected Jason Castro over Justin Smoak. Not only is googling Jason Castro annoying, but Smoak is also statistically better offensively. He walked more than he struck out and smacked 20+ homers in his final two season of college. Castro on the other had one good year at college and a good summer at the Cape Cod League, but that wasn't the biggest disappointment for me though in regards to the pick. Smoak was also a South Carolina Gamecock.
While I'm not originally from the area I work and go to school part time in Columbia. I've never much cared for college sports, sure I join in on the water cooler talk and go to the occasional game, but give me the Major League sports. Still South Carolina athletics has become my adopted college sports team, and when I select a team I fully support that team. I've been peddling Jackie Bradley Jr. since I first read an article associating him with the Astros, which is probably why I've been tagged with doing this profile.
I had hoped to have more material for my profile on Jackie Bradley Jr. both in statistical data and actual game footage from down the third base line of Carolina Stadium (hopefully soon to be Ray Tanner Stadium). Unfortunately he suffered a wrist injury diving for a ball in the outfield towards the end of April, but that doesn't mean we don't have plenty to talk about.
He's considered by many to be a five tool player, throw in the raving reviews about his character and you've got a player any organization would love to have fall to them. That's the problem though current mock drafts have him falling from a top 10 pick to a late first round or even supplemental round pick, and it's not just because of the recent injury.
Before going down with injury Bradley was batting .259/.361/.468 which at the college level for a player of Bradley's caliber is not very good, that was only in 139 at bats. However if you're a regular visitor of TCB you know that's what we consider a relative small sample size, so it may not be a true indication of his future success. Still the injury and the subpar stats are not going to do him any favors on June 6th.
Bradley does have a bit of an injury history which may cause some teams to shy away from him. He injured his right hand freshman year, and broke it his sophomore year in the preseason, but this is where it get's good. He beat the doctor's projection for a return by a month. Then at the time he was supposed to come back he was stepped on at second base. The cut so deep that it required stitches, again he returned early. There was also the issue with a blood clot that was discovered after a weight lifting session, that required the removal of a rib. Each time he's managed to return earlier than the timetable would dictate. He's looking to do that again with his most recent injury. I don't know how much he can do before the June 6th draft, but he did have the cast removed this past Friday. It would be pretty impressive if he did return to action before the seasons out.
In last years College World Series Bradley received the MOP award which is the Most Outstanding Player award for the CWS batting .345 with 2 homeruns and 9 runs batted in. What a horrible name for an award by the way. As for his character all you need is his twitter account which I would says is a combination of Ryan Rowalnd-Smith and Hunter Pence.
He bats from the left side with bat speed that scouts seem to love. He has a good approach at the plate typically walking more than he strikes out. He also has shown to have some pretty decent pop reaching double digits his freshman and sophomore year. He probably would of reached double digits again this year had he not gotten injured. It appears the new bats haven't been much of a deterrent in the power department. On the base paths he's been successful 16 of 22 in steal attempts.
Defensively scouts love his arm and instincts in center field, projecting him as an above average centerfielder in the Major Leagues.
We're going to have a little fun here. Like prospective draftees I'm not much of a floor/ceiling guy, to me it's all hypothetical and I like to deal in results rather than projections. So we're going to stick with Major League guys, specifically guys who have played with the Astros, because that's how I roll. With that said for a floor I'll go with Brian Hunter as a comp.
Hunter played a majority of his time in center field at the major league level, which is where I can see Bradley playing. I don't think he'll be able to cover Minute Maid Parks vast centerfield like Michael Bourn, but he should be above average at the least. Offensively especially with his struggles this year and the fact that he wasn't drafted out of high school I could see him as a below average hitter in the Majors.
What the heck let's go with Carlos Beltran. Beltran's a five tool guy, who does have a bit of an injury history, but when he does happen to play, especially in an eight game stretch during the playoffs, can make some fire works happen offensively and defensively.
Will The Astros Pick Him?
If Bradley falls to the Astros in the second round and he doesn't get selected I think I may very well break down and cry. If you listen to our podcasts you may very well hear my cry there, we'll be recording that night. I don't think he'll last to the second round though, which means the Astros would be making the dreaded overdraft if they were to select him with the eleventh selection of the draft.
I wouldn't be be entirely surprised, on top of being giddy, if they were to make that selection. They Astros have proven before that they're not opposed to drafting the guy they want, and Bradley could be that player. If you look at the last few drafts catcher, shortstop, second base, and believe in building up the middle, centerfield could be next. Maybe in a normal year Bradley get's selected at the eleventh spot, even with his struggles, but with the supposed depth of this years draft I think the Astros will pass.
Keith Law did not have him listed.
Jonathan Mayo did not have him listed.
Perfect Game USA did not have him listed.
John Sickels did not have him listed.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and Video)
The best tool is going to be the bat and the speed. His defense and arm will keep him contributing every day. In this draft, he’s one of the legit five-tool players.
He's still a potential first-round pick, but if he misses the rest of the season and cannot get in front of scouts again before draft day, he could slip into the sandwich round or later.
He came into the year as BA's No. 7-ranked prospect, which may have been a little rich considering he doesn't have a standout tool. But he does have phenomenal instincts, allowing him to get great jumps in center field and make the most of his solid-average grades across the board.
Off the field, he’s just as good as he is on it. He keeps his grades up and his name out of the paper for the wrong reasons. He volunteers in the community, he signs autographs long after games are over, and he’s approachable and personable. Bradley Jr. has a contagious smile and engaging personality that will win him many more fans than his hits will win ball games.