Jackie Bradley Jr. Could Force His Way Onto the Boston Red Sox
It’s only three games, but it is easy to see what top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. brings to the table for the Boston Red Sox. Four hits in six at-bats, good outfield defense and a presence on the base paths.
Bradley Jr. is one of the bright lights of the Red Sox farm system and he might be on the quickest path to the major league team. The question is whether he can force his way onto the Opening Day roster.
Whether Bradley Jr. could probably stand to benefit from more time in the minor leagues is a question for Red Sox’ general manager Ben Cherington, but it may become apparent that he deserves to travel north with the big club based off of his performance this spring.
Part of the reason that Bradley Jr. might make the team is the career batting splits of newly signed Jonny Gomes, who is going into spring training as the main left fielder.
Gomes is exactly the type of veteran role player that the Red Sox lacked last season to provide leadership when times were tough and provide the right example for the younger players coming to the majors.
The real issue with Gomes is that he is a 32-year-old outfielder going into this season and he has a career .223 batting average against right-handed pitchers. Given his great career numbers against lefties, Gomes looks to be the prefect platoon partner to transition a younger player into the majors.
This is where Bradley comes into play. The 22-year-old outfielder would be the perfect fit to pair with Gomes this season, facing right-handed pitchers, providing great outfield defense and a late inning replacement to pinch-run and play the outfield.
Given the limited options that the Red Sox currently have on their 40 man roster, including only Alex Hassan and Daniel Nava as reserves in the outfield, Bradley Jr. may be the most logical player to be added to the roster.
The safe move would be to take Nava north with the big club to start the season. The decision becomes far more complicated if Bradley Jr. shows himself to be one of the best 25 players available to Red Sox’ manager John Farrell to start the season.
It is early, but it will be interesting to see if Bradley Jr. can force the Red Sox to make a tough decision this spring.
You can reach Jonathan Cullen:
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