Jackie Bradley Jr. has interesting take on defensive analytics
Jackie Bradley Jr. is widely regarded as one of MLB’s best defensive outfielders. Analytics would back that up, but it sounds like he’s not interested in having those numbers bolster his resume.
Bradley did not receive a Gold Glove nomination in center field for 2020. That prompted MLB.com’s Sam Dykstra to use an “outs above average” stat to demonstrate how good Bradley’s defensive play had been, and pointed out that the Boston Red Sox outfielder had been snubbed.
Bradley didn’t seem interested in the stat, and had a few choice words about analytics in response.
I just don't understand, and I have yet to have anyone from any analytics department explain to me how they "calculate" the "numbers" or better yet how can you physically improve on them as a player… https://t.co/OSmhsBDANl
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) October 22, 2020
This is a reason a number of players aren’t really enthusiastic about these advanced stats. Batting averages and RBIs and runs scored are easy to understand. Something like this is not. The Red Sox are known as an analytics-heavy organization, so they likely track this, but they probably don’t involve the players much. Relying too much on numbers like that without context or the ability to improve them can contribute to the overreliance on analytics in baseball.
Either way, Bradley’s doing just fine defensively. Whatever he’s doing now, he’s probably best keeping it up.