Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Milton Bradley's rivals -- where are they now?

Way back in the off season -- y'know, when we were full with tall hopes and fine dreams -- the Cubs were looking at a handful of outfielders to compliment Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome.  After a long season of heartbreak, disappointment, and -- in Milton Bradley's case -- insanity, let's take a look at how the options Hendry passed up on have done.

Bobby Abreu - 491 AB, .297 AVG, 24 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 91 RBI, 84 BB, .396 OBP, .830 OPS
Raul Ibanez - 432 AB, .278 AVG, 29 2B, 3 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 43 BB, .346 OBP, .913 OPS
Adam Dunn - 480 AB, .281 AVG, 26 2B, 0 3B, 36 HR, 96 RBI, 102 BB, .410 OBP, .970 OPS
Milton Bradley - 372 AB, .266 AVG, 17 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 66 BB, .388 OBP, .802 OPS

No matter how you cut it, Bradley did worse than all of those guys.  However, as we know from our encounters with pompous stat-heads, hits are so antiquated.  Bradley easily leads all of these guys in the new and increasingly valued statistic HRTGKBBW, or "home runs that got knocked back by wind."

I'm sure that many of you, though, can look at Milton's OBP and OPS and see that he's not so far off the pace from these guys.  But as far as the low RBI totals go -- and ignoring that Hendry signed Bradley to drive in runs -- we must remember that RBI are really out of the hitter's hands.  He can't knock 'em in if they're not on base.  And in Bradley's case ...

With runners in scoring position:

Bobby Abreu - 143 AB, .371 AVG, 12 2B, 2 HR, 74 RBI, .955 OPS
Raul Ibanez - 115 AB, .243 AVG, 7 2B, 7 HR, 52 RBI, .837 OPS
Adam Dunn - 130 AB, .285 AVG, 7 2B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 1.046 OPS
Milton Bradley - 80 AB, .225 AVG, 4 2B, 2 HR, 23 RBI, .756 OPS

Even if Milton had 143 at bats in total, like Abreu, he would still have only driven in 41 RBI, or fewer than even the craptacular-in-the-clutch Ibanez.  But, again, you can't drive in runs if you don't get the chance.  It also turns out that Milton leads the league in RBIISTNAH, or "RBI in scenarios that never actually happened."

Still, we know that offense isn't everything.  There's a little thing called "defense," not that Adam Dunn would know anything about it.  Here's how they match up in the outfield:

Abreu - UZR/150: -10.4
Ibanez - UZR/150: ??? (Ibanez has only played in left field, but his career totals in RF are -34.1)
Dunn - UZR/150: -35.3
Bradley -  UZR/150: -1.1

And there you have it.  Bradley is hands-down the defensive better of all these jabrones.  And that's why Bradley's been a great pick for the Cubs.  Still don't believe me?  Just check out his WAR (wins above replacement) compared with theirs:

Abreu - WAR: 2.3
Ibanez -WAR: 3.4 (it would be way less than that if he spent all his time in RF though)
Dunn - WAR: 1.9
Bradley -  WAR: 1.7

See?  Proof.  And if Dunn and Ibanez played even more games in RF, their WAR would be even worse because they're so defensively inadequate.

So, before you lament again over the acquisition of Milton Bradley, just remember that the guys he was chosen over are hardly better ... even if they all have dramatically superior offensive numbers, especially with runners in scoring position.

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