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Jackie Bradley made a huge error today and it cost the Red Sox an out. Bradley even struck out today as well. Cliff Lee didn't even know who Bradley was before they faced off today. There, some negative things about Bradley have to be said before we call this guy the next Yaz. The truth is, Jackie Bradley is overrated. Now, before you go and burn me at the stake, think about this. All these new Bradley fans see a 22 year old "man" who, in only a small 23 game sample, is hitting over .400 and plays outfield well and we want to crown him as the next starting outfielder for the 2013 Boston Red Sox. Will those same people be on the JBJ bandwagon when we is hitting in the .250s and has 1 extra base hit in a whole weekend series versus the Yankees in April? You know that baseball is a game of streaks and you know that Bradley is riding a hot streak. When the cold comes barreling in, just as the cold in the Northwest that is still plaguing us, what will people think of him then? The same thing happened to Dustin Pedroia when he first joined the Red Sox. I remember all the fans yelling for his demotion. Tito stayed with the Rookie, and we all know what happened by June of that year. Laser Show.

Most, if not all, Red Sox fans have turned their heads at Bradley's numbers this Spring. Bradley is leading the Red Sox in games played (23), hits (22), HR (2), RBI (9), Walks (8) and batting average (.423). He has impressed everyone,

from manager John Farrell:

He passes the eye test and he plays the game pretty damn well.
to Cliff Lee
He looked good. He hit a fastball away over the fence. The next at-bat I threw him a fastball in and he hit it to center pretty hard. It looked to me like he has a pretty good swing, especially left on left. He stays in there pretty good. It looks like he's got some talent to me.

At first, the Red Sox had Bradley penciled in at Pawtucket to start the season, but his fast start, coupled with some uncertanty in the outfield for the parent team, has opened the doors for Bradley. We were told that Bradley would only play centerfield, but because Jacoby Ellsbury was there, Bradley had no place to play. Then, a week later, the Red Sox started playing Bradley in right field. Once rumors spread that Bradley could play some time in right field, but that Shane Victorino had locked that starting gig up, the media brought up Bradley playing left field. John Farrell barked back
I don't see Jackie Bradley as a left fielder.
When Sunday morning rolled around, the media's eyes were wide with excitement to see Jackie Bradley's name penciled in as a left fielder. And, to make things even better, Bradley hit a 3-run homerun off of one of the best left handed pitches in the game, Cliff Lee, in his first at bat. He followed up in the second at bat with a scorched line out to CF that scored another run. Although Bradley floated back down to earth with an error and a strikeout later in the game, what else does he have to do to prove he is ready? Not much.
As I have always written, spring stats don't mean anything. The last 3 years, the leading hitters at the end of Spring for the Red Sox were Jeremy Hermida, Oscar Tejada and Darnell McDonald. Yeah, Spring stats mean nothing. But, while we know Jackie Bradley can not keep up this torrid pace, we do know that we are watching something special. When will the decision be made? John Farrell says the time is near:
Once we get through the off day, we’ll probably get pretty close to it then. What we don’t want to do is get down to Saturday. We want some of the decisions that need to be finalized before that.

Until then, the Nation waits. With fingers crossed, and hopes high, that Jackie Bradley Jr emerges as a 2013 Boston Red Sox team member. And while he is overrated right now, I like JBJ as much as you do. I just hope we aren't caught up in the hype that they call "Spring Stats."

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Read my other articles here.

Peter Lepak 3/24/2013 10:35:00 PM Edit
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