Bobby Bradley Quickly Cementing Himself as a Tribe Power Hitter and Name to Know

Indians fans who are always be clamoring for the elusive right-handed power bat may not be fans of Bobby Bradley. Yes, the 19-year-old can crush the ball over the fence and drive in numerous runs for his team, but he bats left-handed.

Hopefully, fans can get over that.

Coming into the 2015 season, Bradley was highly lauded for his abilities at the plate. There’s always a chance, of course, that this may just be all talk and his actual performance level could be a bit lower than the expectations set. Bradley, though, lived up to the hype.

The left-handed hitter’s season in Lake County was his first full professional season, as he spent 2014 with the Arizona League Indians after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft. In Arizona, Bradley put up impressive numbers, posting a .361 batting average with eight home runs and 50 RBI in 39 games. Although his average dipped throughout the entire season, Bradley still came up strong to end the 2015 season with a .269 batting average and a team-high 27 home runs in 108 games with the Lake County Captains.

Bradley’s season was not without injury, as he started 2015 out with an oblique injury that set him back a few weeks. Even once he returned from the injury, Bradley admitted to taking it easy on his approach for a bit, not wanting to re-injure himself in any way while at the plate. As his injury became more a thing of the past, though, Bradley resumed his powerful approach and was a crucial player for Lake County.

Last season, Bradley sold himself short and said that his progress hadn’t exactly been where he had hoped it would be in his first full season of professional ball. “[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.”

Bradley is not a perfect player by any means, but his first season leaves much about which fans should be excited. Bradley did have 148 strikeouts this season, which can be attributed to two things – his age and his role as a power hitter. Power hitters likely will have a higher strikeout rate, simply because they are swinging for the fences more often than other players. However, Bradley’s age also plays into his strikeout rate this past season. At 19, already established within the organization as a power hitter, Bradley could have the idea that he needs to hit the ball out of the park in every at-bat. As he gets older and refines his approach a bit more, it’s likely that his strikeouts will fall as he learns to read pitches and situations most astutely. There should be no alarm that Bradley is going to develop into a Michael Bourn-esque strikeout king while at the plate.

In the field, Bradley plays first base and continued to improve at the position throughout the year. Again, at 19, Bradley has the opportunity to refine his play in the field and not make the sloppy errors that plague young players in the beginning of their professional careers. However, Bradley will likely never be known for his on-field play, and will instead be sought out for his power at the plate.

Bradley will more likely than not open the season in Lynchburg with the Hillcats in 2016. He received a much-deserved promotion to the Indians’ High-A affiliate late in the 2015 season and played two games for the Virginia-based team last year. As he continues to build on his past performances and refine his offense, Bradley will grow into a player who can impact the Tribe’s roster in the coming years and prove to fans that a right-handed power bat isn’t necessarily the only power bat to have.

Photo: Liana Holub/DTTWLN photographer

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