Monday, March 4, 2013

Jackie Bradley, Jr. For The Defense, Your Honor

Bradley For The Defense
All of us in The Nation have been fixating on the offensive potential of Sox phenom Jackie Bradley, Jr. But, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal points out, it's Bradley's defense that came to the fore in Saturday's game against the Twinkies. Bradley made a series of defensive decisions in that game that belie his 22 years. It wasn't just that he gauged the potential for right-handed hitter Brian Dozier to go to the opposite field when down in the count to Allen Webster. It's also that he motioned his fellow outfielders to shade toward right. Sure enough, Dozier lifted a fly right where Bradley had placed himself toward the right-field line. Said manager John Farrell, "He's in right field for the first time, and he's shifting the entire outfield to the opposite direction given the count. He's playing the wind, and he's playing the count—and the stuff of the guy on the mound at that time. You've got a power right-hander against a right-handed hitter who's probably looking to protect, and, in advance, he's whistling and hollering to the center fielder and the left fielder to shift. It was a heady play." No matter where Bradley goes at the end of Spring Training, this kid is extra special and will be a fixture some where in our outfield very soon.