Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, extending his hitting streak to 22 games. It remains to be seen how long he’s able to extend this streak, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Bradley has established himself as a major league hitter with likely sustainable batting skill.
Bradley is the 10th Red Sox hitter to run off a streak of hits in at least 20 straight games since 2000. Here’s a look at the career batting average and OPS+ for each of the other nine players.
|Player||Hitting streak||Career average||Career OPS+|
|Johnny Damon||29 (2005)||.284||104|
|David Ortiz||27 (2012-13)||.285||140|
|Manny Ramirez||27 (2006), 22 (2002-03)||.312||154|
|Nomar Garciaparra||26 (2003), 21 (2000-01)||.313||124|
|Dustin Pedroia||25 (2011)||.299||115|
|Victor Martinez||25 (2009)||.302||124|
|Kevin Youkilis||23 (2007)||.281||123|
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||22+ (2016)||.233||89|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||22 (2009)||.288||105|
|Todd Walker||20 (2003)||.289||98|
It appears that the ability to collect hits in 20 straight games is a testament to a broader ability to hit for average and to be, at the least, a solid offensive performer. That’s not a guarantee – it’s worth noting that the longest hitting streak of the decade was a 33-gamer by Dan Uggla, a career .241 hitter (with a 107 OPS+ in his career). Even so, of the 37 players who have posted a hitting streak of 20 or more games since 2010, 31 have career averages of .270 or better, and 30 have a career OPS+ of 100 or better.
In other words, focusing on a .250 average is no longer a sensible standard for Bradley’s offensive production. At the least, in his bursts of exceptional productivity (both last August/September and during this streak), he’s shown the ability to produce at a level that rarely appears for players who aren’t at least solid/league-average offensive performers over their careers.