Sep 20, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox player Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) reacts to being called out at second on a double play by the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball: Can Jackie Bradley Jr. hold down Red Sox CF job?

My 2014 Fantasy Baseball Preview continues with a look at the defending World Series champs in the Boston Red Sox.

When you have the talent and the bank roll that the Red Sox have, there usually isn’t much competition for jobs in spring training, but the center field competition in Boston is very intriguing.

Sep 11, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will highly touted prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. step up after hitting just .189 in 37 games last year? Or will free-agent flier Grady Sizemore reemerge as a late-round sleeper?

Jonny Gomes will snag a few at-bats from Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino at the corner outfield spots, which means we could see Victorino in center some as well providing his body holds up, but fantasy owners should have their eyes on the youngster Bradley.

Bradley is Boston’s starter for now. Red Sox manager John Farrell has made that proclamation early in spring training.

However he must hold onto the job which could prove to be difficult.

Bradley proved little in his brief time in the majors last season, batting .189 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 95 at-bats. However he offers a ton of upside and if he wins the job outright could intrigue many fantasy owners.

Sizemore on the other hand hasn’t played since 2011 but has taken a positive first step to what would be a stunning comeback. He has apparently recovered enough from multiple surgeries to run the bases at full speed in spring training, according to the Springfield Republican.

Farrell provided further optimism by stating that Sizemore could play in the exhibition opener next Friday against Minnesota.

In the four seasons when Jacoby Ellsbury played more than 100 games for the Red Sox, he totaled 211 stolen bases.

The player who gets on base consistently and fills that speed void could emerge as an everyday mixed-league play, but I don’t count on either guy being able to produce consistent enough to do so.

Prediction: This is all about Bradley for me, although I’m not as high on him as a fantasy option. He’s the type of guy that is a better real baseball player than a fantasy baseball player.  He’s a very patient hitter that walks and strikes out a lot.  Bradley will likely not ever offer the power or speed that you’d like to see in your outfield so I would hesitate to reach on him just because he may win the job.

His ADP right now is 323.7 and if the 90th outfielder off the board on average. I may take him a little higher hoping for a breakout, but I’m not counting on it. I wouldn’t recommend making Bradley one of your top five outfielders, but wouldn’t mind taking a chance on him to stash him on the bench for a while and see what happens.

I see a player that will have his ups and downs as a full time guy and I project him as a .250 hitter with 10 HR, 60 RBI and 10 SB.

As for Sizemore, it would be a great story if he can make it all the way back, but I’m not counting on it and wouldn’t consider him on draft day unless he proves to have a monster spring.


Tags: Boston Red Sox Fantasy Baseball Grady Sizemore Jackie Bradley Jr.

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