I wrote a column last year comparing Jackie Bradley Jr.’s first full professional season in the minor leagues to Jacoby Ellsbury’s.
The premise was to draw comparisons between the Red Sox current center fielder to his eventual successor.
I didn’t envision then that Ellsbury and Bradley would be starting side-by-side, Bradley in left and Ellsbury in center field, come Opening Day 2013.
Together the two make for a potential dream duo to watch based on their athleticism, pop and defense.
Both sparked Boston’s Opening Day 8-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium yesterday. The win marked the first time since 2010 the Red Sox have begun a season 1-0.
Ellsbury went 3 for 6 with two RBIs, a triple and run.
Bradley used his speed to make a sensational running catch on a deep drive to the warning track in left field, ending the third inning. He also drew three walks. The first one helped fuel a four-run second inning. He later put the Red Sox ahead 5-2 in the seventh with an RBI fielder’s choice.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves by calling Ellsbury and Bradley “the dream duo” just yet. After all, yesterday was Bradley’s major league debut and Ellsbury still has a little something to prove himself after batting .271 with only four homers during an injury-plagued 74-game season last year.
But these two will be very entertaining to watch play together if Ellsbury remains healthy and reaches his capability offensively and if Bradley works professional at-bats like he did yesterday.
Both Bradley and Ellsbury aren’t your father’s Red Sox. They have similar athleticism to Los Angeles’ Mike Trout and Washington’s Bryce Harper and those two certainly are a joy for any true baseball fan to watch.