Friday, September 28, 2012

Right Field for Jackie Bradley Jr.?

Jackie Bradley Jr. has now played 138 games in the minor leagues and his stat line is impressive .311/.423/.473  He also has 24 stolen bases in 35 attempts and 10 homeruns. Bradley's defensive exploits in the minors are becoming legend. Defensively, JBJ is MLB ready right now. Offensively, he is showing the patience at the plate that Ben Cherrington loves. So when will he be playing for the Red Sox?

JBJ's future with the Red Sox is tied in with what the Red Sox do with Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury will be entering the final year of his contract and there is speculation that he could be traded in the off-season. If this does happen then Bradley seems primed to take over the CF duties right away. The Red Sox could also play it safe and let Ellsbury play out his final year, keep Jackie in the minors for one more year and collect the draft picks when Ellsbury leaves as a free agent. This is the most likely scenario and makes Jackie Bradley Jr. the everyday centerfielder for the Red Sox starting in April of 2014.

There is another scenario though that may have some legs. Larry Lucchino talked about how the Red Sox were doing their best to bring back Cody Ross and if they are successful that Ross would more than likely be in left field. Larry went on to elaborate how difficult RF is to play at Fenway Park. He said that you really need a "second centerfielder" to play in RF at Fenway. Could JBJ be the answer for the Red Sox in RF for the 2013 season? Bradley has played just one game in RF during his professional career but as a freshman at the University of South Carolina he played RF. Jackie has the range and the arm to play well in RF at Fenway Park and it will be very intriguing to see if the Sox pursue this come spring training.

The Smoak Monster

Justin Smoak is showing some promise. Smoak has struggled thus far in his MLB career but he has made some changes and it appears they are helping. Smoak, not too long ago was billed as a can't miss prospect. Here is an article about Smoak's resurgence and here is a second article on Fangraphs breaking down his swing change and analyzing his numbers.

Whit The Hit

Whit Merrifield has been invited to play the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is the most prestigious off-season league for top tier prospects. Whit is still in the Royals organization and still showing his versatility. He has played all three outfield spots and second base in the minors. He has yet to play third base though. While at the University of South Carolina Whit played all three outfield spots and all infield spots with the exception of first base. He capped off his college career with the biggest hit in Gamecock history giving the University of South Carolina their first ever baseball national title.

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