Jackie Bradley Jr. (born April 19, 1990), nicknamed "JBJ", is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played in MLB for the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays. Listed at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and 200 pounds (91 kg), he bats left and throws right-handed.
With the University of South Carolina, Bradley began his college baseball career with the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team in 2009. As a freshman, Bradley hit .349 and scored 69 runs in 63 games played. Posting a slugging percentage of .537, he hit 11 home runs while walking 34 times and striking out 31 times. After the 2009 season, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Hyannis Mets of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
In 2010, Bradley batted .368 and 13 home runs, driving in 60 runs while scoring 56 times in 67 games. Then, he went 10-for-29 (.345) at the plate in the 2010 College World Series (CWS), earning CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.
The Boston Red Sox selected Bradley in the supplemental first round, with the 40th overall selection, of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. Bradley made his professional debut on August 23, 2011 with the Class-A Short Season Lowell Spinners, hitting .250 in 10 games split between the Spinners and Single-A Greenville Drive. Bradley was named Minor League Defensive Player of the Year by the Red Sox organization for the 2012 season. He hit .315 with 55 extra-base hits, 87 walks, and 63 RBIs in 128 games.
Bradley played college baseball for the University of South Carolina, and was named the 2010 College World Series Most Outstanding Player. The Red Sox chose Bradley with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft and he made his MLB debut in 2013. Bradley was an All Star in 2016 and named the most valuable player of the 2018 American League Championship Series. Known especially for fielding ability, he won a Gold Glove Award in 2018. Bradley left the Red Sox in free agency for the Brewers after the 2020 season, but the Brewers traded him back to the Red Sox one year later in exchange for Hunter Renfroe.
On March 28, 2014, Bradley was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after he was unable to beat Grady Sizemore for the starting center field position, but was recalled three days later after the team placed Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list. Bradley saw regular time as the team's center fielder throughout the 2014 season, appearing in 127 games, but was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 18 after hitting just .216, despite playing exceptional defense. He finished the MLB season with a .198 batting average with one home run and 30 RBIs.
During the 2015 season, Bradley split time between Boston and Pawtucket. On June 25, he was called up to play right field for the Red Sox while Hanley Ramírez recuperated with a sore wrist. In a June 30 game against the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, Bradley hit his first home run since May 31, 2014. On August 15, 2015, Bradley became only the eighth player in the modern era with five extra-base hits in one game, recording two home runs and three doubles in six at-bats, in the Red Sox' 22–10 defeat of the Seattle Mariners. He became a regular starter for Boston from late July through the end of the season. Overall for the 2015 season, Bradley appeared in 74 MLB games, batting .249 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs.
Bradley is married to Erin Heiring. A daughter was born in June 2016, a son in December 2020, and another daughter in June 2022.
On April 8, 2017, Bradley fell to the ground after flying out and left the game. It was reported that Bradley suffered a sprain to his right knee. Two days later, on April 10, Bradley was placed on the 10-day disabled list. On August 22, Bradley injured his left thumb while sliding towards home plate and left the game. The next day, on August 23, Bradley was again placed on the 10-day disabled list due to spraining his left thumb. For the 2017 regular season, Bradley appeared in 133 games, batting .245 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs. In the postseason, he was 3-for-15 (.200) with a home run and five RBIs, as the Red Sox lost to the Houston Astros in the Division Series.
Bradley returned to his center field role with Boston in 2019, appearing in 147 games while batting .225 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. He made contact with the lowest percentage of pitches he swung at in the strike zone (76.4%) of all major league batters. On defense he led all American League center fielders in assists, with 10, and had the fastest reaction but took the worst route of all major league outfielders (-2.0 vs. average). Bradley's over-the-wall catch of a Trey Mancini drive on May 8 was selected as number one on the list of MLB Network's Top 100 Plays of 2019, while number two on the list was an over-the-wall catch by Stevie Wilkerson on a drive that Bradley hit on September 29.
On March 8, 2021, Bradley officially signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 134 games with the 2021 Brewers, batting .163 with 6 home runs and 29 RBIs. His batting average was the lowest among MLB players with at least 324 plate appearances. He played 117 games in the outfield, 89 as center fielder.
On December 1, 2021, the Brewers traded Bradley, David Hamilton, and Alex Binelas to the Red Sox in exchange for Hunter Renfroe. Bradley began the 2022 season mainly appearing as a right fielder for Boston, with occasional games in center field. He was briefly on the paternity list in early June, as his wife gave birth to their third child. On July 8, Bradley made his major-league pitching debut during a 12–5 loss to the Yankees at Fenway and struck out two-time batting champion DJ LeMahieu with a 67-mile-per-hour (108 km/h) pitch. Bradley was released by the Red Sox on August 4, becoming a free agent, shortly after the team acquired Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer. In 91 games with Boston, Bradley batted .210 with three home runs and 29 RBIs.
On August 9, 2022, Bradley signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 40 games with the Blue Jays through the end of the season, he batted .178 with one home run and nine RBIs, giving him a overall .203 average for the 2022 season. For the year, Bradley was again nominated for a Gold Glove Award.
On March 1, 2023, the Kansas City Royals announced that they had signed Bradley to a minor league contract. The agreement came with an invitation to the major league team's spring training, with the expectation that Bradley could provide depth in the outfield following injuries to Drew Waters and Diego Hernández. At the end of spring training, the Royals announced that Bradley had made the team and would be added to its 40-man roster.