Sometimes, bigger is just better. Godzilla: King of the Monsters can be seen as either a disappointment or a success depending upon the perspective considered. The critics tend to yawn at creature features as the 40% rotten tomato score reflects. Fans of monster theater, conversely, want to see high action with monsters battling monsters; the rock-solid 85% audience score demonstrates the movie delivers.1
A leaner, fitter Bradley showed up to Goodyear Arizona in 2018 seeing the immediate benefits of OrangeTheory Fitness, which is based on fitness algorithms tuned to heart-rate monitoring for maximization of post-exercise calorie burn. The 230 pound version of Bradley received rave reviews for his increased athleticism and defense by manager Terry Francona and others. Though he led MiLB in Defensive Runs Saved for a first baseman2 and hit career highs in doubles (26) and triples (5), while maintaining a good clip of 27 home runs, Bradley never felt comfortable with his new physique. The result was a career low in batting average (.224) and on base percentage (.308).
A different Bradley showed up to camp in 2019 as he bulked up to 255 pounds, while stating he has maintained his conditioning.3 He complemented the increased girth with a more aggressive approach at the plate, which has helped contribute to a career-best slash line (thus far) of .279/.344/.580 with 17 home runs4 and 15 doubles.5 The aggression has also led to 78 strikeouts in just 241 plate appearances, but the slugger will trade strikeouts for the ability to fully tap into his power potential. The early result was being honored as the International League Player of the Month for May 2019 despite being the fourth youngest player in the league.
Of course, Bradley is no stranger to receiving accolades as he has moved up the ranks as seen in the figure below. Despite these successes throughout the levels of the minor leagues, Bradley has rarely been mentioned as one of the top prospects in MLB due to his position and size.6 Scouts demand an above average MLB bat from a first baseman without positional versatility as the mid-point batting line amounts to a 110 wRC+ (10 percent better than average). He has shown promise of being such a hitter, but the margin is small when considering the leap to The Show. One aspect in Bradley’s favor though is the relative value to the 64 wRC+ (36 percent below average) the 2019 Indians have received from the designated hitter slot; Bradley can make an impact immediately even if it does take him a bit of an initial learning curve.
When WFNY pondered about the ability of Bradley to become a postseason wild card for the 2018 Cleveland Indians, one of the key questions was if Bradley could regain his elite ability to hit left-handed pitching– as a left-handed batter– in the higher levels of the minor leagues. Well, the biggest component of his 2019 breakout performance has been due to absolute raking against southpaws. The .329/.346/.734 (eight doubles, eight home runs) slash line in Columbus will push the Tribe to ensure there is no platoon partner for him in the lineup when he gets the call to Cleveland.7
Another positive factor throughout the development of Bradley has been his ability to hit to all fields. He has a slight pull tendency, but few are able to spray the ball with consistent power from right to left.
There is a chance, as with all prospects, that Bradley flops on the biggest stage. Perhaps the strikeouts prove an obstacle too big to overcome or his inability against left-handed pitchers returns facing elite pitchers. However, the monster of a power hitter in the mold of Russell Branyan and Jim Thome can be seen within Bradley’s hitting profile.8 It is time for that monster to be unleashed upon the rest of the American League. It is time to let Bobby Bradley rip and entertain us all.