Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Opening Day is right around the corner and John Farrell is going to need to start getting a feel for how his team will look March 31st. The World Champions have few instabilities, meaning there are few roster spots to be fought for. However, there is a race taking center stage at Fenway South between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore in center field.
Sizemore has gotten off to a scorching start, hitting for an explosive .381/.409/.429 slash line. The opposite can be said for Bradley Jr., who mustered a .189/.268/.324 clip thus far. Sizemore came into camp as the underdog but turned it around fast and now emerges as the favorite to start for Boston. Everybody is singing his praises. They’d be beside themselves if the young, talented prospect Bradley were penciled into the Opening Day lineup. Sizemore certainly has dazzled, albeit it is a small sample size, coupled with two years of absence from the game of baseball. Speaking candidly, it is tough to judge a player from a mere 21 at-bats. And while Sizemore has transcended expectations, it seems rather presumptuous to definitively say he should start over Bradley Jr.
The young left-handed hitter projects to be an on-base machine, which he complements with a little pop . On top of that, he brings Gold Glove caliber defense to the table. Despite struggling in a small sample size in the majors last season, Bradley raked in the minor-leagues, mashing a .275/.374/.469 slash. The touted prospect continued his torrid minor-league campaign and yet, he will be stripped of a proper opportunity to prove himself a mainstay in the major-leagues. It does not help sticking him in Triple-A with inferior competition. How will the novice ever be able to adjust to major-league pitching?
Sizemore assuredly alleviated concerns surrounding his health this spring. However, I am not ready to give up on Bradley without granting him his appropriate due in the majors. Two years are a long time gone from action. I am not suggesting to cease belief in Sizemore, he is not too far gone, but it should be Bradley’s job to lose once he is allowed another shot in Major League Baseball.