The swing is majestic. The power is undeniable. Whenever Bobby Bradley turns on a pitch on the inner half of the plate and launches it over the right-field wall at Lynchburg’s City Stadium, it is a sight to behold.
It’s become a common sight for fans of the Hillcats, who have enjoyed watching the Indians’ No. 3 prospect smash baseballs toward Wythe Road throughout the season.
But that’s not the only thing Bradley has done well. The left-handed-hitting slugger has spent his second straight season working with hitting coach Larry Day on using the entire field and becoming a more balanced batter. Instead of having Bradley look to always pull the ball, Day wanted to see him go with the pitch and use his power to spray balls to the opposite field.
“It’s great just working with LD the past two years, a guy who really knows my swing,” said Bradley, who has set career highs this season in homers (29) doubles (23) and RBIs (101) en route to earningCarolina League MVP honors. “Every time something goes wrong or I have a question about it, he automatically knows just from watching the video and he’s telling me, ‘Hey, you’re doing this, this or this, and you should be doing this.'”
Bradley, MLB.com’s No. 73 overall prospect, has been playing against older competition this season and the 20-year-old first baseman said that has helped him improve at the plate through learning how to become a more disciplined hitter and adjusting as the game goes on.
His batting average dropped to .219 following a May 29 game against Salem, but soon took a jump up with a sizzling June. He hit .318 during the month, but followed a five-homer May with four blasts.
It was part of his maturation process as a hitter.
“It’s just more of a mentality,” Bradley said. “You’ve just got to get in day in and day out and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this and this is what I need to get better at and this is what I’m going to do to do it.’ ”
Through Monday, Bradley had hit 10 homers in August, and three came in the same weekend series against Winston-Salem when teammate Francisco Mejia’s 50-game hitting streak came to a close.
That homer barrage followed a long-ball drought that also saw his batting average rise thanks to more disciplined hitting.
“I just don’t focus too much on the past — no matter good game or bad game — and I always take it one at-bat at a time,” Bradley said.
The 2014 third-round pick has also made an effort to become better defensively at first base. Through Monday, he had committed four fewer errors than he did last season while also helping turn the same amount of double plays he was part of last season with Class A Lake County and his one appearance in Lynchburg near the end of the season.
“That’s taken priority over offense this year,” Bradley said. “Just working as hard as I can over at first base, still learning a lot over there. Still got a long ways to go.”
Damien Sordelett is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.