I’ve changed my tune on Jackie Bradley Jr. in the past few weeks. Last season, and even into the start of this year, I was not particularly high on him because he was like me when I played baseball: Good in the field, but terrible at the plate. At the start of this year, I would have been happy with Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo as the starters in the outfield, with guys like Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava, as well as Brock Holt, filling in as needed.
But that was before Hanley Ramirez proved to be terrible defensively and Rusney Castillo started down the most expensive minor leaguer path. Shane Victorino’s injury problems are no surprise – it was the same story last year, but it looks like he may be back soon.
My change of heart on Jackie Bradley Jr. mainly started with the first 2 guys, though – Ramirez and Castillo. Both guys are massively underperforming, given what they are getting paid. Ramirez can’t play defense to save his life, and Castillo can’t seem to adjust to Boston at all. As I said earlier, he could be on track to be the most expensive minor league player in history.
Right now, I say give him a fair chance. The only other time he was up, he didn’t get a hit, but he only had 11 at bats and 3 of those at bats came against Felix Hernandez. It’s hard for a lot of guys to get hits off of Hernandez, so it’s hard to fault him there. I would say give him a fair chance this time around, because he can only be an improvement for the Red Sox at the moment. It would be pretty hard for the Red Sox to get any worse than they have been, and at the minimum, his glove will help. But I think it will end up being more than that. He has been looking more comfortable at the plate already, so I say see where it goes.
Because when you’re all the way down, the team can only go up, right?