Sweeney remains an enigma; he is one of the most physically imposing and talented players, yet he seems unable to hit a home run. Carp has good lefthanded power, but left field won’t be his forte.
It’s also an older team. Seven of the nine starters are either over 30 or will turn 30 this season.
There is certainly a long way to go in spring training. And before the Sox brass gets ahead of itself, Farrell wants to keep watching for signs that Bradley isn’t quite ready.
“We talk about it in the staff room,” said Farrell. “It looks like he’s been doing this a long time. Defensively, when contact is made, he’s already on the move. He’s a world-class sprinter where he’s going to outrun the baseball.”
Farrell wants to see how Bradley reacts to adversity. He wants to see his approach against some of the better pitchers. He wants to see how he adjusts in an at-bat or his next at-bat.
But what he’s seeing is a pretty polished-looking player. Because he was a college guy (South Carolina), he’s not super young. He’ll be 23 April 19.
The other mature aspect about him is that all the accolades haven’t gone to his head. Bradley doesn’t run from praise, but, he said, “I know that I can’t rest on a good game or a good season. It’s hard work making it to the big leagues and I’m willing to do what it takes. I have to keep learning about every single aspect of this game.”
We all get excited about young players. We did when Dustin Pedroia came up. We did when Ellsbury came up. We did when Will Middlebrooks came up.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is on deck. And it looks like he’s pushing the development envelope.