Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to be struggling, but he is great for publicity, right? The last few games were tough on the rookie, hitting nothing at his last 17 plate appearances. Offensively, he has trouble with southpaws, especially with pitches thrown inside. Thursday night Jonny Gomes pinch-hit for him at the end of the seventh inning. Saturday he did not see action because of Tampa Bay’s left handed pitcher, David Price. Defensively, he has trouble with the left field corner, especially those balls that are hit tight to the wall. A higher percentage of players bat right-handed, so there is a high likelihood of balls pulled in that direction. Also, when the outfield shifts towards right field on these batters, it takes him further away from the left field corner. I am surprised because he does get a decent jump on the ball. Bradley Jr. keeps a close eye on the batter with feet primed for action.
Those are the facts. We cannot keep sitting him out every time there is a left handed pitcher. He cannot avoid parts of left field when playing that position. What is John Farrell going to do? Will they send him down to Pawtucket? There was a lot of talk, before they made the decision to bring him up to the majors, about him playing in every game. That is not happening as he has sit out 2 out of the last four games. It was so exciting in New York; now the thrill is gone, and questions loom.
If they send him down to Pawtucket, they would need to leave him down there for some time. I do not think that would be a negative. He would play with other talented players who are also working on their games. I think he would learn a tremendous amount from David Ortiz and Bryce Bentz. He could talk to left-handed pitchers like Chris Hernandez to learn how they trip him up at plate. Consistent play and plate appearances would help, too, though this would more likely occur at the double A level. I do not think the organization would demote him that far down the farm system, since it would not benefit Bradley Jr. or the Red Sox.
He creates problems, but these are good problems to have, as so many say. I hate to see him go, but it seems moving him down would be the best scenario for the team right now. Daniel Nava’s performance, in the last few games, is undeniable.
What should the Red Sox do with JBJ?