With regard to Jackie Bradley Jr., have the Red Sox made the right decision? Based on the first game against New York, and his major league debut, fans saw a version of the same ballplayer we witnessed throughout Spring Training. He walked and made an unbelievable grab to rob New York Yankee Robinson Cano of a home run. Things seem to be going according to plan, but in watching him during these last few starts against Toronto, I cannot help but feel a tiny bit of concern.
Let’s look at the facts. He had an amazing first game, the only other Red Sox to have a start like Jackie Bradley Jr. was Jim Rice in 1974. Rice won Rookie of the Year in 1974. During Bradley Jr.’s first game he hit a single to drive Shane Victorino through for a run. He got on base, through a series of walks, and swung at good pitches. His batting average is .214 and on base percentage stands at .400 after the April 6th game against the Toronto Blue Jays. During the series against Toronto, he has been having trouble with left-handed pitchers, and struck out once today, April 6th. Then again, the only hits the produced during Saturday’s game, were in the 1st and 9th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Well, maybe things are not so bad after all. Maybe it was just Saturday’s game that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Let’s look at Bradley Jr.’s defensive side. He has been solid. My only worry as I watch him is the left field corner. He had trouble a few times with balls that get hit tight to the left field wall. Having seen him play at Spring Training, I am surprised by this because he accurately anticipates where the ball will be hit. Really, those are my only issues with his defense. With each game he gets to know the ground in left better.
Hopefully, this is a false anxiety alarm on my part. Hopefully, Bradley Jr. continues to perform and just play the game he loves, the only way he knows how, humbly (He went to celebrate his first major league start with his family at Applebees in Time Square) and well.