The future is now for the Boston Red Sox, or maybe just a little bit early.
Whether they really wanted to or not, the Red Sox couldn’t overlook the spring that phenom Jackie Bradley Jr. has had. It was the type of spring where even the veterans on the team have to give the rookie his due.
Boston finally announced today that they had designated Mauro Gomez for assignment in order to add Bradley Jr. to the 40-man roster.
Opportunity came in the form of a David Ortiz injury, but make no mistake; the 22-year-old Bradley Jr. forced his way onto the Boston roster with professional at-bat after professional at-bat. This was never anything that was planned or intended, it just happened.
Sometimes, prospects are ready early. Normally, you don’t look at jumping a prospect with one professional season from Double-A to the majors, but sometimes a player just shows that he is ready.
Given Bradley Jr.’s almost 1:1 ratio of walks to strikeouts, he has shown the ability to get deep in counts and hit good major league pitching. His defense, ability to run bases and his throwing arm will give him an opportunity to make an impact even if he is struggling at the plate.
Looking at Bradley Jr.’s potential impact, it is likely that the Red Sox will take it slow batting him lower in the lineup and sitting him against tough lefties. Bradley Jr. has met every challenge that has been thrown at him so far, even when the team was throwing him against Cliff Lee to see if he would struggle.
Long-term, Bradley Jr. could profile as a less-powerful Bernie Williams, which would probably make the Red Sox ecstatic if that was his career comp.
This is a good thing. It shows that Boston thinks they can win this year (which they can) and adding Bradley Jr. to the roster only confirms that. If Bradley Jr. can shine in his early career with the Red Sox, he might pave the way for other prospects to be given a chance earlier than expected.
This is a good sign of things to come.