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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Speier: Uncle! There are no more tests for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Uncle Jackie and operation green…

At a certain point, enough is enough. At a certain point, if there is a team with ambitions to contend, for whom individual wins may matter, and there is a player who represents an obvious and dramatic upgrade over the alternative, it becomes almost impossible to keep him off the roster.

That’s where the Red Sox find themselves with Jackie Bradley Jr. Time after time, the Red Sox have thrown a new wrinkle at the 22-year-old to see if the outfielder would stumble. Seemingly every time, he’s responded in eye-opening fashion.

...“Even against a left-hander who has decent stuff, he takes a strike, he’s not afraid to hit deep in the count with two strikes and gets a breaking ball middle of the plate,” manager John Farrell told reporters. “And what was even more impressive I think, is after a day yesterday when some left-handers tied him up a little bit, he came back today against a left-hander with some quality stuff and put a good swing on the ball.”

Nothing new there, really. Bradley has performed at an absurd level this spring.

He’s hitting .444 with a .524 OBP. He’s almost never expanding the strike zone (with a brief exception in chasing some nasty left-on-left curveballs against the Phillies on Sunday). He’s playing impactful defense at all three outfield spots. He’s showing a great feel for the game.

Repoz Posted: March 26, 2013 at 06:41 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. RollingWave Posted: March 26, 2013 at 06:52 AM (#4396512)
Hmmm, looking at his minor stats he seems very legit, though this hype seem to be blowing slightly out of proportion no?
   2. Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2013 at 07:49 AM (#4396525)
Having him spend two weeks in the minors means an extra year for the Red Sox. It's not fair for him. (The Players Assn. can address the process if they so desire in the next CBA.) It's the rules, though. If he's as good a players as his proponents say, and he very well may be, the Sox should use their heads and keep him down.
   3. Dan Posted: March 26, 2013 at 07:56 AM (#4396529)
Having him spend two weeks in the minors means an extra year for the Red Sox. It's not fair for him. (The Players Assn. can address the process if they so desire in the next CBA.) It's the rules, though. If he's as good a players as his proponents say, and he very well may be. The Sox should use their heads and keep him down.


This is ignoring the context of the present roster situation. Until Ortiz is back, Gomes will mostly be DHing and there is an opening for and a need for an every day LFer. Once Ortiz is healthy, they can send Bradley down for three weeks and get that extra year anyway. Unless he's batting .350 at that point, no one is going to blink twice at the fact that they need everyday ABs for Ortiz and that Bradley needs to go to Pawtucket to keep getting the everyday at bats that he needs. And if he is performing so well that sending him down doesn't make sense when Ortiz gets back, then I'm not really going to complain.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 26, 2013 at 08:21 AM (#4396535)
Once Ortiz is healthy, they can send Bradley down for three weeks and get that extra year anyway. Unless he's batting .350 at that point, no one is going to blink twice at the fact that they need everyday ABs for Ortiz and that Bradley needs to go to Pawtucket to keep getting the everyday at bats that he needs. And if he is performing so well that sending him down doesn't make sense when Ortiz gets back, then I'm not really going to complain.


Amen brother. I don't understand why this is being so underreported. It's not like if he's in the lineup on Monday he's suddenly a 2018 free agent. As Dan notes the only way he doesn't get the necessary time in the minors to get that extra year is if he is playing great and that's A-OK.

Last year was an eye opener for me. I've long been one of those "go big or go home" types in roster construction but after suffering through last year I'm convinced that as a fan 81-81 has value. Yes, I want my team to build toward 95 wins but if I'm going to invest my time, money and emotion into a club (and I am) give me something to root for.
   5. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 26, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4396548)
I'm convinced that as a fan 81-81 has value.


No. It's fun to root for the underdog; it's also fun to support a contender.

There is nothing redeeming about being a fan of an average team.
   6. Dale Sams Posted: March 26, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4396549)
give me something to root for


I'm not a big 'this' poster.

But seriously. I can't even tell the difference between Carp, Sweeney and Overbay. And it's only Gomes ugly mug that keeps me from throwing him in there too. Free Jackie!

There is nothing redeeming about being a fan of an average team.


Baby steps.
   7. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:03 AM (#4396553)
Baby steps.


There's the old saying that "nobody wants to hear about the birthing pains; they just want to see the baby."

   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4396572)
And that's fine but rooting for a mediocre team is more interesting than rooting for a bad team. It's fine if you've got a 70 win team that has young kids that are just not quite ready (the '82 Twins are a team I always think of in this regard) but most teams that win 70 games just stink. The Red Sox last year stunk. Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, Aaron Cook, Scott Podsednik...ugh, a year of rooting for those guys was simply pointless. When Middlebrooks broke his wrist last year there was virtually nothing redeeming about the Sox last year (and they went 13-35 from that point forward).

That's not a team progressing and not a team that is fun to watch. For some demented reason I did which probably says more about how warped I am than anything else.
   9. Boxkutter Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4396627)
This "extra year" crap usually seems to be for nothing anyways. Either the player doesn't live up to expectations and you could care less if you have them that seventh season or not, or they are awesome and by Year Four, they are signing a contract extension and their first two or three years or free agency anyways.

I've been following JBJ since his sophomore year at South Carolina (when I drafted him in my keeper league... so I am a fan). He's a solid player, but he isn't anything special. He is Michael Brantley v2.0. His best asset will be a good OBP and defense. But he won't steal enough bases or hit enough homers to be truly memorable.
   10. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4396650)
But seriously. I can't even tell the difference between Carp, Sweeney and Overbay.


Carp can hit a little and is 9 years younger than Overbay
Overbay can field a little
Sweeney was completely inexplicably ranked in the BA top 100 3 years in a row

Carp has some power
Overbay used to have some power
Sweeney has none (zip, nada)

Ok, I'll be fair to Sweeney, he can also apparently play the OF without horrifying his pitchers, which Carp can't, and Overbay - well maybe he could have few years go...
   11. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4396679)
This "extra year" crap usually seems to be for nothing anyways. Either the player doesn't live up to expectations and you could care less if you have them that seventh season or not, or they are awesome and by Year Four, they are signing a contract extension and their first two or three years or free agency anyways.


It delays by a year the time to have to make this decision, which can add up to quite a bit of money.
   12. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4396773)
"Jackie Bradley Jr." sound like a character in the movie "Major League: The Green Monster"...
   13. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4396794)
Overbay was released this morning.
   14. Pingu Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4396804)
Sweeney was completely inexplicably ranked in the BA top 100 3 years in a row


He's a pretty big, strong-looking guy. Not out of the question to see a 19 yr old in high A ball hit .283/.342/.379 and think he could grow into some more power. He's always been able to hit a little bit (at every level) but the complete lack of power for someone of his size is really odd. Kind of like watching Mark Hendrickson lob 87 MPH fastballs for the Rays a couple years back.

If he's starting over Bradley for more than exactly 3 weeks this season, I'll be upset.
   15. Darren Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4396809)
I'll take a Brantley if it means he's going to be a 3-bWAR player by age 25. Of course, if he's Brantley, I'd definitely keep him in the minors for 2 more years.
   16. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4396880)
Hmmm, looking at his minor stats he seems very legit, though this hype seem to be blowing slightly out of proportion no?


I don't think advocating starting a 23 year old with good minor league numbers and a solid defensive reputation constitutes hype.
   17. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4396895)
I don't think advocating starting a 23 year old with good minor league numbers and a solid defensive reputation constitutes hype.


I'd say the number of articles and amount of discussion about it is pretty hype-y, particularly since no one was advocating this 3 weeks ago.
   18. jobu Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4396900)
"Jackie Bradley Jr." sounds like a character in the movie "Major League: The Green Monster"...


Bingo.

It really is a great baseball name. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, from all I've read. Hard not to root fot him.
   19. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4396901)
But his spring numbers, combined with his solid MLE's, have been so impressive, he looks like he'll be able to contribute right away and so I don't think the recent buzz about him is unjustified.

I think what threw people off about him was his relatively poor senior season at South Carolina. Of course, he was hurt then and was rated much higher than where he actually got picked. He has obviouslyly resolved any doubts about his recovery now.
   20. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4396905)
So the question is, since he projects as a centerfielder, whither Ellsbury? Not sure you want him as a corner and putting Bradley there is a waste of range.
   21. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4396912)

I'd say the number of articles and amount of discussion about it is pretty hype-y, particularly since no one was advocating this 3 weeks ago.


Par for the course in Spring Training. No one was really talking about Yasel Puig breaking camp with the Dodgers at the start of Spring and that looks possible.

The reality is it's a good baseball discussion too. It's a hell of a lot more interest than some generic BSOHL or new pitch or whatever story. It's a little bit circumstance (Ortiz' injury) and a little bit performance (he really has been terrific every step of the way) and there are valid arguments on both sides of the "keep him/send him down" divide. Plus, the story has evolved. I think even a week ago the scales were tipping toward sending him down but he's just kept hitting.
   22. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 26, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4396923)
Sweeney was completely inexplicably ranked in the BA top 100 3 years in a row

He's a pretty big, strong-looking guy. Not out of the question to see a 19 yr old in high A ball hit .283/.342/.379 and think he could grow into some more power.


yes, and based on that year he was ranked 42nd
and he went on to hit .298/.357/.371 in AA (league OPS was .733)

now when an OF has a below league average OPS in AA you might think his prospect standing may take a hit- and it did, BA dropped him to #92- but seriously a guy with 1 Home Run- an RF not an SS or even 2B- a below league average OPS- how can THAT guy be a top 100 prospect? (by way of comparison, Carlos Gomez was the same age at AA, outhit league OPS by 70, was regarded as an elite defensive CF, was ranked 60th)

OK he had an off year, he was young for the league, then in 2006 he was reasonably above league - in AAA- at age 21, and BA moves him up to #55

Elijah Dukes same year, same league, basically lapped him as a hitter, #79 (OK Dukes was a complete headcase, BA is entitled to take that into consideration right?)

But then again, he almost hit as well as Delmon Young did in AAA that year :-)


Ok, not "inexplicable," what it seems to me is that if BA decides you are a prospect- and you don't do a complete faceplant- you are gonna stay on their list- Delmon had his performance deteriorate precipitously with each promotion- losing 50-70 points of OPS- he was not holding serve at each level, he was slipping- granted it doesn't necessarily mean he was getting worse- the leagues are getting tougher- but it sure seems to indicate stagnation- Young was ranked 4 times by BA, 3,3, 1, 3- absurd- in AAA he was little better than Sweeney with the bat, and far far inferior defender (yes he'd hit better in prior years)

random vent over
pretty much seems to me that that the prospect lists run out of steam after #30 or so, the guy ranked 50th has little to no better prognosis than the guy ranked 100th who has little more to hang his hat on than some random team's #8 (100 to 240th)

   23. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4396962)
So the question is, since he projects as a centerfielder, whither Ellsbury? Not sure you want him as a corner and putting Bradley there is a waste of range.


Ellsbury just won a gold glove in center, why would you move him for a rookie? Yes, yes, GG's are what they are, and he was a great offensive player which eff's up the voting, but he is a perfectly cromulent fielder.
   24. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4396972)
It doesn't matter that he's a good fielder, if Bradley is a better one.

I haven't seen Bradley throw yet but based on the scouting reports I'm almost certain he has a better arm than Ellsbury.
   25. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4396981)
I haven't seen Bradley throw yet but based on the scouting reports law of averages, I'm almost certain he has a better arm than Ellsbury.


FTFY
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4396989)
Bradley has a much stronger arm than Ellsbury. In the few times I've seen him he has fallen into the trap of trying to show off the arm a bit too much and missing cutoff men or throwing inaccurately.

The Sox won't move Ellsbury after seeing him get crunched playing LF in 2010. If Bradley makes the team he'll play left field.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4396995)
Having two center fielders is a feature, not a bug - especially in Fenway. There's very little evidence that two good fielders next to each other provide diminishing returns. The Sox for the last decade have typically played a near-CF quality defender in right (Nixon and Drew, mostly).
   28. Publius Publicola Posted: March 26, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4397017)
The Sox won't move Ellsbury after seeing him get crunched playing LF in 2010. If Bradley makes the team he'll play left field.


Then that's a waste of Bradley's range, and so it will provide diminishing returns.

The Sox for the last decade have typically played a near-CF quality defender in right (Nixon and Drew, mostly).


Ellsbury can't play right. His arm isn't strong enough. Ellsbury better hit this year, because he's very replaceable.

   29. Sonic Youk Posted: March 26, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4397055)
Then that's a waste of Bradley's range, and so it will provide diminishing returns.
yea, but this would only matter if they were putting him in the lineup just for his defense. He did 315/430/482 in the minors last year, and hit himself onto the team this spring. So it's not totally crazy that he's the best lf option (at least against rhp) even ignoring defense. It's not like he'd be replacing Manny Ramirez.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 26, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4397069)
Bradley's glove will be less valuable in LF, but he'd still have a whole lot more defensive value there than Gomes/Nava/Carp.

Even before spring started, Bradley projected as a better MLB player than Carp or Nava.
   31. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 26, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4397094)
One other thing about left field defense is that the Sox play a bunch of games in parks with big left fields. Tampa, Toronto and New York all have spacious left fields and that's 27-30 games each year. Building just for Fenway was a fundamental mistake of the 70s/80s Red Sox clubs.
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4397140)
But seriously. I can't even tell the difference between Carp, Sweeney and Overbay.


The difference is that one of them is wearing a Yankees uniform.
   33. Xander Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4397217)
Just keep him in the minors for two weeks. This really isn't a tough decision. The Long March to 83 Wins can go on with or without him.
   34. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4397229)
The Long March to 83 Wins can go on with or without him.


A Pirate fan can explain how long that march can be.

But yes, keeping him in the minors for a few weeks really is the smart long-term baseball move.
   35. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4397244)
He is a REALLY superb outfielder. (Living in Charleston, I got to see the Gamecocks play a lot when he was there.) He gets such a wonderful break on the ball, that he makes most plays look routine (even if other CF's wouldn't have gotten there in the first place).
His arm is accurate, but not unusually strong. Plus, he has great baseball instincts. I think he's a cut above Michael Brantley
   36. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4397278)
Just keep him in the minors for two weeks. This really isn't a tough decision. The Long March to 83 Wins can go on with or without him.


Agree.

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