Brewers: Despite Offensive Struggles, JBJ Is Showing Value With Defense

Mar 18, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. makes the running catch for the out against the Los Angeles Angels during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. makes the running catch for the out against the Los Angeles Angels during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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Entering the season, the Milwaukee Brewers made it a point to enter the season with depth. This tactic was evident at multiple positions with the outfield being the most intriguing after the signing of 2018 gold glover Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Throughout the season the Brewers have relied greatly on this depth. It has paid off from a team perspective as they currently hold the largest division lead in franchise history and are on pace to set a franchise record in wins.

Unfortunately for Jackie Bradley Jr, he may end with one of the worst statistical offensive seasons of all time. His slash line is currently .165/.239/.270/.509 and he has a wRC+ of just 39. For a player that is not likely to opt out of his contract and thus remain a Brewer for the 2022 season, he has a lot to prove going forward from an offensive standpoint.

Thankfully, despite his offensive flounders, JBJ is proving to be valuable defensively for the Brewers.

As a former gold glover, he navigates the outfield equally as well as fan favorite Lorenzo Cain.  Having two players of their defensive caliper has been a big boost to the team this year.

From a statistical standpoint, Bradley Jr has a DRS of 12, which is fourth best among all other outfielders. According to baseball savant, he ranks in the 90th percentile in outs above replacement and 78th in outfielder jump.

It is not uncommon to have Bradley Jr make a spectacular play in the outfield. His performance defensively and track record allows him to carry himself with a swagger unlike anyone else and it is an entertaining sight to see.

The value JBJ provides defensively may be what ultimately lands him a spot on the postseason roster. As a former ALCS MVP, he is familiar with postseason baseball and despite his poor offensive season a left handed bat off the bench certainly has value. He more than likely would be used as a defensive replacement but it takes just one at bat to be labeled as a postseason hero.

Tyrone Taylor is another candidate to round out the outfield once the calendar flips to October.  Unfortunately for him, he has missed quite some time and currently is on a rehab assignment following an oblique injury. It is possible that both JBJ and Taylor make the post-season roster, but priority number is Taylor’s health.

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With just a few weeks left in the regular season, it will be interesting to see which players make the postseason roster. Despite popular opinion, Bradley Jr has a great shot at making the roster given his defensive value.

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