Rookie sensation Jackie Bradley Jr. is three for his last 31 AB with a .097 AVG, a .319 OPS and has struck out 12 times — clearly not what the Boston Red Sox expected out of their young prospect after he had a monstrous Spring Training with a .441 AVG, 2 HRs and 12 RBIs.
Though Bradley is in an early-season slump, it may not be his fault. The 22-year-old was promoted to the Red Sox lineup after the release of outfielder Ryan Sweeney. Surprisingly, Bradley was given a shortcut to the Big Leagues despite not having played a single game in Triple-A.
The last Red Sox to do this was third baseman Shea Hillenbrand in 2001. Like Bradley, Hillenbrand was tearing the cover off the ball in the Minor Leagues as he posted a .349 AVG and 19 HRs. He was promoted directly to Boston, skipping Triple-A on his way up. Though Hillenbrand was a two-time All Star and had maintained a career average of .284, he found himself a journeyman traveling around the league, playing for six different teams in his seven year career.
Despite Jackie Bradley’s recent struggles, he is optimistic about his future in the league, according to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. “This is one of those periods. Every hitter goes through it, I’m willing to work through it. It’s definitely not going to affect me in the long run.”
This “no surrender” mentality is exactly what the Red Sox need out of their developing prodigy. Bradley seems to be doing his part by keeping his confidence level high, and now hopefully, the Red Sox will do theirs to help further his career.
Jackie Bradley Jr. needs to be sent down to Triple-A. Though it may sound harsh, the inevitable is bound to happen with the likely return of David Ortiz to the lineup this Friday. Unfortunately, Bradley is the odd man out. With Daniel Nava swinging a hot bat (hitting .324 with 3 HRs and 9 RBIs), there just doesn’t seem to be a place for him right now. Especially since the Sox have a total of five outfielders including Bradley.
For now, the best place for him will be Pawtucket. He needs time to develop, and playing every day in a low-pressure situation is ideal. If and when he gets sent down, it will only help in the long term for the promising future of Jackie Bradley Jr.