Sunday, April 7, 2013
Bradley to stay?
By Jason A. Churchill
There's little question that Jackie Bradley, Jr. has the talent to become a very good big-league player, but since he's made the 25-man roster at the expense of Ryan Sweeney, the question now centers around the rookie's staying power.
Long-term, it's strong. He's a top prospect with a broad tool set who may take over next season for Jacoby Ellsbury in centerfield as well as at the top of the batting order.
In 2013, however, his stay in the big leagues may be short-lived. The Red Sox could use him regularly until David Ortiz returns to active duty, at which time Jonny Gomes will give way at the designated hitter spot.
Bradley could certainly play his way into a longer stay, perhaps even a permanent one, but there is a benefit to the club stashing him in the minors for a few weeks -- pushing his free agent clock back a year.
The success of the team could play a large role in how the club handles Bradley, so if you're a fantasy owner, keep an eye on the team's fortunes, not just the disabled list and box scores.
ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden thinks Bradley could be in the mix for AL Rookie of the Year:
Jim BowdenBradley's best tool
"On the 20-80 scouting scale, Bradley scores an 80 on makeup and character. Ask anyone who has met or played with him. He made the Red Sox out of spring training partly because of the injury to David Ortiz and partly because he blew up the Grapefruit League. He’s an athletic outfielder who was named the organization's best defensive player in 2012. He has tremendous plate discipline for his age and really knows how to work a count. He hits line drives to all fields and should develop 15-home run power in time. He’s a well above-average runner with slightly above-average speed. He’s an intellectual competitor with great baseball instincts. If he gets off to a great start, it’s doubtful he'll get optioned out when Ortiz returns."