Bobby Bradley Sets High Expectations in Lake County: “I Just Have to Do What I Know How to Do”
Laurel Wilder | On 06, Aug 2015
He’s 19 years old and in his first professional season with the Cleveland Indians after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft. He’s knocked in a team-high 18 home runs for the Lake County Captains in 79 games this season. He’s hitting .253 and posts a. .830 OPS. He was recently named the Midwest League Player of the Week for July 27-August 2, as he hit .381 in six games, with four home runs, nine RBI, two doubles, nine runs, six walks, and a slugging percentage of 1.048.
Yet, Bobby Bradley thinks he could still do more.
“[My progress] is a little beneath [my goals for the season],” Bradley said. “I had a little higher expectations of myself just coming into the season, but it’s a work in progress and I’m still young. I just have to do what I know how to do.”
And what Bradley knows how to do is play baseball.
A self-described “good old Southern boy” who loves “huntin’, fishin’, and mud ridin’,” Bradley began his baseball career on the T-ball field at age four, and has loved the game ever since. He said he didn’t have a strong a passion for football or basketball, but played both sports for some time while a student at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss. It was his sophomore year of high school, though, when Bradley realized that baseball was really what he wanted to do as a career, rather than just a high school hobby.
While playing varsity baseball at Harrison Central High School, Bradley played 84 total games and had a career .442 average and OBP of .602. He had 91 total hits, 75 RBI, and scored 89 runs.
Bradley was first drafted by the Indians in the second round of the 2014 draft, but turned that offer down.
“I thought I was probably the craziest person alive,” Bradley joked. “But then, I ended up getting a call from the Indians the next day.”
The Indians call in the third round also came with a little more money than their previous offer, which helped Bradley make the decision to sign with the Tribe, a decision which he says he is “loving” thus far.
“During Spring Training, [it’s great] to be around all the big leaguers and see how they work,” Bradley said. “[It’s been neat] getting to play in intrasquad games with them and see how they are on the field.”
Bradley did suffer from an oblique injury earlier this season, which sidelined him for a handful of games. Upon his return to the field, Bradley and hitting coach Larry Day both acknowledged that Bradley held back a bit at the plate until he felt fully healthy again. It’s clear that that time has come, as Bradley, who cites David Ortiz as the player he looked up to during his youth, not only does he lead the Captains in home runs, but his OPS (.830) and SLG (.486) also are the top on the team. He is tied with Bobby Ison for the most triples on the team (3), and has nine roubles and 75 hits on the season. He has knocked in a team-high 58 runs and 113 strikeouts on the year. While the strikeout rate is alarming, there is solace in the fact that he is young and knows he still needs to develop more throughout his career. He has committed 13 errors at first base this season, which is also more evident of his age and time spent in the professional ranks than a true reflection of his talent on the field.
For all his successes on the field, and the bright future that he is creating for himself, Bradley is a grounded 19 year old, living out his dream but always knowing there is more he could do on the field. He has set his own bar high, and is ready to rise to those challenges.
Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN Photographer