Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to be some wunderkind. Some thought he would start the regular season in AAA, now based on performance it may be more prudent to place him in the majors. This would be a relatively unusual move for the Red Sox, but his stats and the chatter that surround him seem to be glowingly positive. A real student of the game and perhaps, if, we, at the Yawkey Way Report may be so bold, the next Johnny Damon. Or even the next Jacoby Ellsbury perhaps, due to BradleyJr.’s position in the outfield and offensive production. But, then what happens to Ellsbury?
The throngs of women who want to date him will be upset to see Jacoby Ellsbury be brushed aside. The men who want to be him recognize that we still need his bat. Moneyballers like his on-base percentage. (Even though Bradley Jr.’s stats are ever so slightly better, according to a comparison of their minor league performance, Bradley Jr.’s on base percentage is .432 versus Ellsbury’s .389) Ellsbury’s real gift is his base stealing prowess. This is something the Sox need to make his on base percentage fruitful, turning them into runs. Defensively, Jacoby knows the idiosyncrasies of Fenway’s tricky outfield. Could his speed and agility help him if John Farrell moves him to right field? Doubtful. Everyone likes Ellsbury for center field. Left field may be the an option for Bradley Jr. due to his versatility in the outfield. Some doubt the defensive ability and agility of Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, and Daniel Nava in left field. WEEI’s Alex Speier applauds Bradley Jr.’s acumen in the outfield, and thus makes us wonder whether a placement at left would be worth a shot.
“For him, it is as if the outfield grass is a sacred expanse that requires defense against any encroaching baseballs.”
One wonders if Farrell considers this, or whether he will take some time with Bradley Jr. and further cultivate him in Pawtucket. The well-designed, JetBlue Park will certainly help in that decision making process as Spring Training continues.