Jackie Bradley Jr: Tips to Become A Great Outfielder

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by: David Driver

1. An outfielder needs to run a good route on balls hit in the gap. “Sometimes when playing outfield and a ball is hit in the gap I think it depends on the speed of the ball. If the ball is hit harder you want to take an angle and get around it. You can get behind the ball,” Bradley said.

2. A line drive hit right at an outfielder can sometimes be more difficult than it appears. “I agree it is the hardest ball. You don’t want to (always) come in,” Bradley said. “You don’t want to (always) go straight back either. It is important that you know the hitter. Some guys may hit a line drive at you that may have more carry on it than others. It comes down to getting low and seeing the trajectory and making adjustments from there. The only way to get better is a lot of practice.”

3. It is important that an outfielder communicated with his infielders on popups between the two. “It is very important, especially knowing that you have higher priority over the infielders. When you call for a ball they have to give way to
you. When it is between the infield and outfield it is always best that the outfielder go low and let the infielders stay up,” he said.

4. An outfielder can help his team by backing up bases on throws. “Those plays right there, I feel like something people overlook the significance of backing up a ball or backing up a play on the infield. No one really notices it until an errant throw happens. It is vital to keep the runner at the base and not allow them to advance to the next base,” Bradley said.

5. With a runner on second base and a single to the outfield, the outfielder needs to have his body going towards the base where he is throwing to. “It is very important to make a strong, accurate throw,” Bradley said. “Not only throw the ball toward the person running but having the throw at a height where the person who hit the ball won't move up to the next base."

Fun Facts About Bradley:

  • Bradley was born April 19, 1990 in Richmond, Virginia.
  • He grew up in Prince George’s County, Virginia, just southeast of Richmond.
  • Bradley is a distant cousin of Michael Jordan, the basketball Hall of Famer who played at the University of North Carolina. Jordan’s grandfather and Bradley’s great-great-grandmother were siblings.
  • Bradley was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft out of the University of South Carolina, where he played college baseball. He helped USC win the College World Series in 2010 when he hit .368.
  • He is married to Erin and the couple have a daughter, Emerson, who was born in June, 2016.
  • Bradley was named the Most Outstanding Player and an all-tournament player at the College World Series in 2010.
  • The Virginia native was named to the Major League All-Star game for the first time in 2016.
  • Bradley was an all-state player while in high school at Prince George’s High in Virginia.

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