Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 4/19/13

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s fantastic spring did not turn into April results. The highly-regarded Red Sox prospect was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket following Thursday’s game after he managed just three hits and six walks in 38 plate appearances. It’s clear what Bradley needs to work on with his everyday at-bats at Pawtucket: hitting advanced changeups and curveballs. The incredible combination of command and movement major league pitchers possess on their breaking balls is one of the biggest challenges a rookie must deal with, particularly one like Bradley who hasn’t taken a single at-bat above Double-A. Indeed, Bradley’s biggest struggles came on curveballs and changeups. Observe, the 16 curveballs Bradley saw according to data from BrooksBaseball.net: Graphic from catcher’s point of view; L/R refer to pitcher hand Bradley’s zone recognition on the curveballs was excellent — he only swung at one demonstrably out of the strike zone and he took six balls. Plate discipline has always been noted as one of his best skills according to Baseball America ($), and Bradley’s six walks with Boston comes out to a sharp 15.8 BB%. But Bradley was unable to do anything against curveballs in the zone — he took three strikes, and of the eight curveballs he swung at, he put just two in play. He whiffed on four — 50 percent of swings, 23.5 percent of all pitches. Results on changeups were even worse for Bradley: Graphic from catcher’s point of view; L/R refer to pitcher hand Pitchers exhibited exceptional control on their changeups to Bradley. Just three of the 16 he saw missed the zone, and only one by more than a foot (not pictured, crossed well below the strike zone). He whiffed on three more in the strike zone, fouled off four more, and hit into three outs. His whiff rates — 37.5 percent per pitch and 46.2 percent per swing — were, as expected, awful. Bradley didn’t produce a single positive outcome on a single changeup or curveball in the strike zone. As a left-handed hitter, Bradley will enjoy the platoon advantage for much of his career, particularly against starting pitchers. As such, he should expect to see a steady diet of changeups and curveballs throughout his career — they exhibit the least significant platoon splits, especially when compared to fastballs and sliders. There is more to work on, as Bradley posted just a .209 wOBA in his short time at the major league level. But his results on fastballs (including two-seamers/sinkers) weren’t nearly so poor — he whiffed a relatively tame nine times out of 92 seen (9.7 percent) and notched one of his hits off hard stuff. Additionally, the slider wasn’t as problematic as the two platoon-killer soft pitches. Bradley recorded two hits off sliders and didn’t whiff once, although he only swung at five total. The left-handed batter in the major leagues must have the ability to handle changeups and curveballs, as he is liable to see each pitch from both sides of the plate. Bradley simply lacked experience against such well-refined changeups and curveballs as he saw in his short stint in the major leagues. By all accounts, Bradley’s pitch recognition and hit tools are tremendous. With some time to develop against more advanced soft stuff at the Triple-A level, Bradley can still develop into the kind of player who inspired so much hope this spring. Graphics made with Tableau Public

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker