After viewing the damage caused by the Red Sox’ fill-in outfield of Mike Carp, Daniel Nava, and Jonny Gomes in an 11-4 loss last night, the Red Sox have made a move to recall Jackie Bradley Jr. from Pawtucket. Both Jacoby Ellsbury (wrist) and Shane Victorino (hamstring) are day-to-day, and with those being the only real center fielders on the team, the Red Sox were forced to play with last night’s terrible defensive outfield. Bradley will likely start in center field for the next few games (possibly until the All-Star break) until either Ellsbury or Victorino is ready to return.
Bradley’s season stats in Boston (.154/.254/.269) do not look great after he started the season with the Red Sox. However, in his second stint with the team he showed tangible improvement, hitting .238 with his first major league home run compared to .097 in his first stint. Despite these struggles in the big leagues, Bradley has been crazy good in Pawtucket, however. In 45 games and 213 plate appearances, Bradley has knocked Triple-A pitchers around with a .297/.393/.530 slash line, good for a .922 OPS, showing surprising power.
Bradley was ranked as the #21 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America in their midseason update released this week. His ceiling makes him out to be a strong defensive outfielder, despite only slightly above average speed, with a good arm. Bradley gets on base at a great clip due to both good contact skills and plate discipline. His power is his least impressive tool at the moment, but he is doing all he can to change that with his .530 slugging percentage in Triple-A.
It will be good to get another look at Bradley, who is smoking hot in Pawtucket right now. Chances are that he takes over as the starting center fielder next season, given the likelihood of Ellsbury leaving with free agency. Hopefully he can give a breath of fresh air to a Red Sox team that has lost their last three games and are on the oft-feared west coast trip. However, this will likely be a short stint with the Red Sox as he’ll likely be optioned after the All-Star break.