Opening day for the Boston Red Sox is 2 days away and I am more excited than a dog seeing a mailman. This is going to be a key year for a lot of the players on the roster in figuring out how they’re going to fit in the ball club’s future plans.
One of those players: Jackie Bradley Jr. Jackie is one of the smoothest center fielders in the game. His ability to read the ball when it is in the air is absolutely incredible. He’s probably the best in the game at it. He has decent speed and uses that to his advantage to glide over to catch the ball like he was born to do it. It’s so natural to him, I bet he could do it with his eyes closed. (I would put money on it). He has an absolute cannon for an arm. The gold glove is practically his to lose if he plays enough games to qualify for it.
But David, why wouldn’t he play enough games to qualify? You just drooled everywhere about his defense! Well you seeeeeeeeeeeee…….. he’s not much of a hitter. Please don’t pay attention to spring training stats. You’re setting yourself up like thinking there’s actually going to be a good amount of registers open when you’re ready to check out at Walmart. Nope. Bradley kills it in spring training and it’s cute. Everyone gets excited and thinks this is how Jackie Bradley is going to hit during the season, be a complete player and an absolute steal (he will be making 547k this year). The problem is, we all love Bradley. He’s very nice and polite and plays the game the right way. Treats everyone with respect and you’ll never hear about a ridiculous story of him partying it up getting all crazy (loving the Instagram, Gronk!)
But he can’t hit. We all want him too but he just doesn’t. In his first full year in 2014 he played 127 games and hit a miserable .198 with 1 HR and 30 RBI. Those would be okay numbers in Single A ball. But not in the majors. The Red Sox put up with his offense because he plays amazing defense. Maybe the best. You have to take the great with the awful but this is a make or break year for Bradley and I don’t know how much patience they have with Jackie at the plate. Stop playing games with us, Jackie. Please pass go and collect a .200 batting average.
Follow David Manners on Twitter @DavidManners
Photo Credit: Jim Davis/Boston Globe via Huffington Post