Jackie Bradley Jr. is the future of the Red Sox. Everyone agrees on that. However, is he the present as well? It depends on who you talk to. Here is the definitive pro vs. con list of having Jackie Bradley start the season in Boston.
Pro: He is playing very well in spring training, batting an unbelievable .429 average. His bat could definitely help the major league team immediately.
Con: Spring training is a very small sample size, and it is occurring in a place 50 degrees warmer than Boston in April. It is much harder to hit in colder temperatures and might be too much of a change for the young 22 year old to handle.
Pro: This young 22 year old has handled EVERY single thing thrown at him in March.
Con: The Boston media, Yankee Stadium on opening day, and an outfielders nightmare, the Green Monster are lurking.
Pro: Even if he gets out to a slow start, he can benefit from the mentoring of Dustin Pedroia, who spent his first month in the majors batting a .172 average. Now look at him… laser show, relax (for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPvMOVFshyI).
Con: JBJ has only ever been a center fielder, which is his natural position. However, the Sox already have a dynamic center fielder in Jacoby Ellsbury. So to play Bradley, he is going to have to play a different position. This off season, the Red Sox gave a lot of money to Shane Victorino to come to Boston and patrol right field, so obviously that’s not an option either. This leaves left field open, which presents a problem because left field at Fenway is unlike any left field ever (see Monster, Green). With the likely exit of Ellsbury after this season, do the Red Sox really want to have their future center fielder spend a whole year tormented in left and possibly risk ruining the confidence of a 22-year-old kid? Manager John Farrell doesn’t think so. He says that Bradley will only be a center fielder, and if need be, he can play right once in a while, but no left field for the prospect. So there you have it, Jackie Bradley Jr. will not play with the Red Sox on opening day, he will not start, and he will never play left field. Repeat, he will never ever, ever, play left field for the Red Sox.
Pro: Jackie Bradley Jr. is starting in left field today (March 24th).
See you opening day.