By Jeff Louderback
If the Red Sox choose not to bring back Jacoby Ellsbury, chances are Jackie Bradley Jr. will take his place in center field next year for the Boston Red Sox. The 23-year-old Bradley, who is one of the top outfield prospects in baseball, has a high ceiling for the long term. As for this October, Quintin Berry would be a better option for one of the team’s final postseason roster spots.
Since the Red Sox will have four starting pitchers and probably seven relievers along with two catchers and DH David Ortiz, that leaves one additional spot, which will be filled by a pinch-running option.
Bradley is respected for his baserunning abilities. Though he is no Ellsbury, Bradley has speed, yet it is not game-changing quickness. Berry has the speed and base stealing skills that can impact an inning. He is also a defensively proficient outfielder, and he did hit .258 in 251 at-bats for Detroit last season when the Tigers reached the World Series.
Since Berry was acquired last month, he has been compared to Dave Roberts, and he can fill a Roberts-like role when October arrives. His presence on the roster would offer more than Bradley.