Can Jackie Bradley Make The Leap?

A look at Jackie Bradley and his chances of playing in Boston next year

Jackie Bradley (Photo: Kelly O’Connor,

With decisions to be made in center field for the Red Sox (which I wrote about here), an intriguing player to consider in center field is Jackie Bradley. a supplemental first round pick in 2011 out of the University of South Carolina, Bradley has rocketed through the Red Sox minor league system. With the league-wide trend of accelerating the progress of quality prospects, Bradley may be on the fast track to Boston.

While at South Carolina, Bradley was named the MVP of the 2010 College World Series. However, the switch to a new style of aluminum bats and a wrist injury impeded Bradley’s progress as a junior. What was bad for the Gamecocks and Bradley’s draft status was good for the Red Sox, as Bradley dropped to the Red Sox with the 40th selection in the draft. Bradley signed his contract on the August 15 deadline. Bradley played 6 games at low-A Lowell and 4 games at Single A Greenville.

When 2012 rolled around, the Red Sox challenged Bradley with a promotion to high-A Salem. Bradley took on the challenge with gusto, hitting .357/.479/.523, .449 wOBA, 181 wRC+. After 67 games, the Red Sox challenged Bradley further with a promotion to AA Portland, where he hit .275/.376/.441, .373 wOBA, 130 wRC+. Bradley also stole 23 bases in 2012.

Bradley is an elite (in scouting parlance, plus-plus) defender in center field who takes excellent routes to the ball. He won’t hit many homers but should get plenty of doubles and triples. And Bradley knows how to work a walk to get on base.

It’s almost certain that, at minimum, Bradley will start the year in Pawtucket. However, if the Red Sox trade Jacoby Ellsbury in the offseason, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Bradley in Boston very early in 2013.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jacoby Ellsbury

Scott Candage is a long-time Red Sox fan. He recently came in third in the 127th annual Upperclass Twit of the Year competition. His best friend is a tree and he is a stockbroker in his spare time.

7 Responses to “Can Jackie Bradley Make The Leap?” Subscribe

  1. Beulah Milton October 8, 2012 at 10:39 AM #

    Wow! what a great story, this young man deserves it, he has worked really hard to get here, congrats Jackie Bradley Jr, a great role model for kids!!

  2. Walt in Maryland October 8, 2012 at 2:14 PM #

    Bradley is probably the Red Sox' most polished prospect, and it wouldn't surprse me if he's big-league ready by April. He played on back-to-back College World Series teams at South Carolina, and his game is already very well polished.

    Defensively, of course, he's ready right now. And he's very disciplined at the plate. He reminds me a little bit of Dwayne Murphy.

  3. Gerry October 9, 2012 at 2:44 AM #

    If the Sox wisely go with the kids, why not Bradley in RF (instead of Choo/Hunter/Swisher, etc.) with Ells in CF and Ross/ Kalish in LF. Further, MLB at 3B, Iggy at SS, Lava/??? at C. How about 25 yr.old Ike Davis at 1B (if Youk is disinterested.). With veteran presence from Papi, Ross, PD, Ells, ??, this youth movement would provide plenty of balance. Talk about energy, excitement, motivation and cameraderie… Not to mention 200+HR, 300+ 2B and 3B, high OBP, 120-150SB, and awesome D.

    • ScottCandage October 9, 2012 at 9:57 AM #

      Don't sleep on Jerry Sands (from The Trade) at 1st base next season. He's got some pop in his bat.

  4. Gerry October 9, 2012 at 2:46 AM #

    WMB @ 3B. It's late.

  5. Walt in Maryland October 9, 2012 at 10:01 AM #

    The Sox are going to have to complement the young guys with at least one impact bat acquired from outside the organization.

    If Bradley starts in CF, it will only be because they've traded Ellsbury. I expect the Sox to seek significant offensive upgrades at 1B and in one of the outfield corners (both, if Ross doesn't return).

  6. @undefined October 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM #

    This guy is progressing rapidly. If he goes to Pawtucket in April, he'll probably do like Middlebrooks did and tear up the IL until the Red Sox call him up.

    I don't know how much you're "challenging" a first-round draft pick out of a top college program (that won the national title twice) when you send him to Salem at age 22. If a player with that pedigree can't make Carolina League pitchers look bad, then you shouldn't have drafted him in the first round. Don't waste the time and talent of a player like Bradley by sending him to A-ball. Send him straight to Portland, where there are real pitchers that he can actually learn something from.