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#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Jackie Bradley Jr. explains difficulty in adapting to shifts

Jackie Bradley

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of a number of left-handed batters across baseball to struggle offensively in part thanks to aggressive defensive shifts against him.

These shifts leave the third base line unoccupied, leading many to suggests that players just bunt or try to take the ball the other way to get an easy single or more. Bradley explained how this is much easier said than done.

“Everybody’s always saying, ‘Oh, just go the other way,” Bradley said, via Christopher Smith of MassLive. “Yeah, you can say go the other way. But if a pitcher is pitching you inside, are you just going to try to knife it the other way?”

Bradley’s exit velocity is fine, but he’s still only hitting .200, and understands that he won’t win any sympathy just because of how defenses work against him.

“It’s about results,” Bradley said. “We can try to sugarcoat it all we want to. Whether I hit the ball hard or not … it gives you a sense that I’m squaring it up, I’m putting good swings on it and it might be right at somebody. But I’m going to keep continuing to say it, results is the only thing that matters.”

One prominent MLB agent added another reason why left-handed hitters struggle to adapt to shifts. The consensus is that it’s certainly easier said than done.

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