Just weeks after winning his second title with the Boston Red Sox, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury signed a lucrative 7 year, $153 million dollar deal with the AL East rival New York Yankees. With Jacoby gone, the position of starting center fielder falls into the hands of second year player Jackie Bradley Jr. The 23 year old South Carolina product played in only 37 games with the big league squad, making several trips between Boston and Pawtucket. Posting only a .189 batting average with 3 home runs and 10 runs batted in, Bradley Jr. failed to live up to the lofty expectations set for him after his impressive spring training. During the 2013 Winter Meetings in Orlando Florida, manager John Farrell had this to say about the situation,
“We certainly feel fortunate that Jackie is in our organization and we would feel good if he was playing center field if thats the way it plays out”
Although his 2013 stats don’t jump off the page at you, he is widely regarded as an elite prospect, with the glove, speed, and hitting skills to be an elite player. His work ethic is said to be off the charts, which is a positive sign, seeing that his plate approach and patience could use a good amount of improvement from his 2013 self.
Although the free agency period is far from over, it would appear that Jackie Bradley Jr. is going to man the center field spot in 2014 for the defending champs. It may be too early to tell how Jackie’s career, or even just this upcoming season, will play out, but it will certainly be a focal point of fans and writers in the coming months.