Red Sox CF: Jackie Bradley Jr.
The return of possibly the greatest defensive centerfielder in Red Sox history was not something I expected to happen this winter. When Jackie Bradley Jr. departed via free agency before the 2021 season I thought our defense would take a serious hit in the outfield. Thanks to the strong play of Kiké Hernández while being flanked by Verdugo and Renfroe it wasn’t a big drop-off.
The thing is, there aren’t many that can patrol an outfield quite like JBJ, especially centerfield at Fenway Park. I’ve lost count of how many times my jaw has hit the floor thanks to some sort of defensive wizardry put on display by Jackie. The man has robbed more hits than anyone I can recall in recent memory.
Now, it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine with Jackie as the man isn’t what you would call a powerhouse in the batter’s box. JBJ doesn’t earn his paycheck with his bat-like other players in the league, he earns it with his glove. I’ve seen some worry about adding his bat back into the lineup but it isn’t something that overly concerns me as it’s something we’re used to.
The Red Sox have had one of the best offenses year after year with and without Bradley in the order, but I’ll gladly take his glove back. Plus I don’t believe he’ll be an everyday player as Jarren Duran is chomping at the bit to get that spot full-time. JBJ will likely platoon with Duran and mentor the young slugger as Boston transitions to the young prospect fully.