On Monday, the Boston Red Sox made a tough decision and sent center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to AAA Pawtucket. In response, they called-up rookie Mookie Betts. Although Bradley is now in the Minor Leagues, that is not where he belongs and he will not be there for long.
In 112 games for the Red Sox this year, Bradley has slashed .216/.288/.290 so far on the year. Also, 29.33% of his hits have been for extra bases while he has swiped eight bags on eight attempts. He is by far the best defensive outfielder in the league however, as he has yet to boot a ball in 927 innings in the outfield while he leads all of Major League Baseball in assists with 13 which is unheard of for a center fielder. Numbers like these in the field scream Gold Glove. Defense, of course, is not the reason why Bradley was sent down — it hardly ever is the reason why a player is demoted.
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The most logical answer of why Bradley was sent down is because of his bat. He recently overcame an 0-for-35 slump at the plate which seems to be the most likely cause of his demotion. Take out that stretch and he is hitting .228 which is not great, but much better than .216. Since then he was 5-for-16 at the plate in the past week good for a .313 average. Although that is a small sample size, it indicated that his bat was starting to come back around at least a little bit. Now he has the chance to continue his momentum at the plate in a low-pressure environment.
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Although the front office must not be too happy with the way he has been hitting lately, he is not out of the picture entirely. Most likely, he will be called back up to the big club on September 1st once rosters expand and include upwards of 40-men at the big league level although teams hardly ever go this high. Essentially, Bradley has about two weeks in the minors before he is back up playing center field for the Boston Red Sox.