If there’s one word that pops up on every evaluation of Bobby Bradley it’s “power.”
And he has more than enough for one professional baseball player. Scouts have at times questioned his contact and plate approach, but never the pure power. Dating back to his days at Harrison Central, the LSU signee and eventual Cleveland Indians third-round selection has oozed home-run potential.
In 39 games back in 2014, Bradley tallied eight homers and 25 extra-base hits in his first rookie league assignment. The next two years, Bradley slugged 27 and 29 homers to put him among Minor League Baseball’s leaders.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game with the Akron RubberDucks, Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate, Bradley had hit 11 homers but was in the midst of of a long-ball drought.
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Then it poured.
After going homerless in seven games, the Coast native hit — not one, not two — THREE home runs in a 10-4 victory over Erie.
“He’s been working really hard with [hitting coach] Johnny Narron and (bench coach) Omir Santos in the batting cage,” RubberDucks manager Mark Budzinski told MiLB.com. “He’s developing a solid routine, which has helped him get on time and ready to hit. That’s helped him see the ball better and put good swings on the balls he wants to it. It’s exciting to see.”
Bradley apparently opened the game by going 0-for-2 with two ground outs to first base. That’s when the fun started as the left-handed hitter hit the next three consecutive pitches out of the park. He finished 3-for-5 with seven RBIs.
“Stepping up to Double-A from (Class A Advanced), to me, is the biggest jump,” Budzinski said. “He needed to make the adjustments because pitchers saw that he would chase out of the zone early on. To his credit, he’s adjusted and not gone out of the zone nearly as much. A big part of his goal as a hitter is to take his walks if they won’t pitch to him but also to be ready to hit if it’s in his zone. It’s a credit to him to see the hard work he’s done.”
According to MiLB, Bradley hit just .176 in April, his first month in Double-A. After getting settled in, Bradley hit .271 in May and .301 in June.
MLBPipeline.com ranks Bradley as the No. 4 prospect in the Indians’ system and the second-best first baseman in all of MiLB. On a 20/80 scale, MLBPipeline grades Bradley’s power as a 60 with 45, 20, 50 and 40 respective grades for hit tool, running, throwing and fielding.
Bradley is now hitting .254 with 14 homers, 48 RBIs an OBP of .348 and a slugging percentage of .492.
The last two offseasons Bradley has returned to the Coast to conduct youth hitting clinics at HCHS. He reflected on a number of topics, including the Indians’ run to the World Series and dealing with trade rumors as a top prospect.
““You can’t let it affect you,” Bradley told the Sun Herald. “If you start thinking and reading all the rumors — ‘oh, man, I could be going in this trade’ — then your mind’s not focused on the game that night and it’s just a poor performance from there when your mind’s not in the game. You just have to try to block it out and let what’s going to happen, happen.”