Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Jackie Bradley, Junior

I usually pick up a copy of Lindy’s Baseball before every season. I checked this year’s edition before heading out to the Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles at Jet Blue Stadium in Fort Myers. There is one Red Sox player who has caused a great deal of commotion in the offices of the decision makers here and in Beantown---Jackie Bradley Junior.

                                                   Pre Game-At The Batting Cage 

Red Sox fans have taken notice, as did J. Lindy Davis, Junior, in his guide. Davis listed Bradley as a “Top Organizational Prospect” who would be “Coming Soon” to the big Leagues. That usually means in a year or two.

Bradley came to camp with no Major League experience.  After attending the University of South Carolina, he played most of the season last year in Class A at Salem, Virginia.  He impressed many of the Red Sox fans in the Boston area, including Art Mercier. “We knew he was destined for the Majors. It was just a matter of time,” Mercier told me after Bradley went two for four yet again for the Red Sox. But that raises concerns for the team, according to Mercier. “If he is taken to Fenway with the team, that will affect his position in terms of free agency, and in trade talks”. The Red Sox will do whatever is necessary to protect Bradley Junior, at all costs.

                                                            Ken Rosenthal-Baseball Guy

The FOX Network baseball guy is, in my opinion, about as sharp as they come when it comes to baseball analysis. Ken Rosenthal knows his stuff, but remains objective about his views. Recently, he commented on Bradley junior’s status; “If the Sox keep him, they will need to demote him for only 20 days over the next six years to delay his free agency until after the 2019 season…Frankly, all teams would welcome such a problem.”

Following the 2011 season, he was ranked by Baseball America as Boston’s # 3 outfield prospect, and # 10 prospect overall. He was also ranked as the best defensive outfielder in the system. After the 2012 season, he was recognized by the Boston Baseball writers as the “”Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year”. He was signed by Quincy Boyd, the Northeast crosschecker in the Red Sox system.

                                                                 Bradley, Junior

In a week, this year’s season begins. After 18 games in the Grapefruit League, Bradley Jr. is batting second among all players with a .436 batting average. His on base percentage is .551. He has smacked two doubles and a two home runs thus far, and has stolen a few bases.

Designated hitter David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been sidelined with a strained Achilles tendon, and shortstop Stephen Drew is out with post-concussion difficulties. As a result, there may be roster positions for Manager John Farrell to fill before the first of April.

When asked about that possibility, Farrell was flummoxed. “That’s a helluva question. We’ve got two weeks to determine that. He’s not on the roster right now. You can’t deny the fact that he’s having a hell of a spring training. But when a player comes to the Big Leagues, you want to make sure they are getting regular at bats. That’s another part of the equation,” he told the local press.

Bradley Jr.’s read on the situation? “I’m excited, no matter what happens to go down. I’m still going to get my work in. I eventually want to get to the Big Leagues like everyone else.”

Bradley’s father played more basketball than baseball. He said that he wanted to be the next “Dr. J” when he played the Fayetteville North Carolina College in the 1980s. He currently drives a bus in Richmond, Virginia. He was able to attend many of his son’s games last year in Salem.

Jackie Bradley Jr. makes a point to have the name “BRADLEY JR.” on the back of his uniform. “My Dad always told me, “You’d better put the ‘Junior’ in there because, if you ever get in trouble, I’m not going to jail for you.”

The proof will be in the pudding in less than a week. Keep an eye on your score sheet.

James Hurst

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