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Monday January 23, 2017
Posted: Aug 19, 2014

Is Betts the future center fielder?

Clearing the Bases

The comparison came quick, The Angels' Kole Calhoun doubled to center field on a ball that hit the lower part of the Fenway Park wall.

A couple of tweets came in: Jackie Bradley would have caught it.

The point is: Mookie Betts didn't catch it.

It is a comparison that Betts (and few others) will ever win. Bradley may already be the premier defensive center fielder in the game. He was also batting .216, with a .572 OPS.

Bradley was sent to the minors Monday (where he went 0-for-5 for Pawtucket), while Betts was promoted back to Boston. Betts went 1-for-3 with a walk. Betts began the season as a second baseman for Portland, batting .355/.994 OPS. He moved to Pawtucket (.325/.920).

The offensive potential appears much higher than Bradley's. His outfield defense will improve. Will it ever be as good as Bradley's? No. But unless Bradley fixes his offensive woes, who would you rather have in the lineup?

The Red Sox lost 4-2, but Brandon Workman put in one of his best efforts of the year: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Pawtucket also lost, although starter Edwin Escobar (1.80 ERA) looked good, except for the walks: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K.

While Bradley is expected back in Boston when rosters expand in September, another outfielder will likely join him. Alex Hassan (.282)  went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. His OPS rose to .807.

The Sea Dogs (78-50) were off, but second-place Binghamton (77-51) moved to one game back in the Eastern League East Division with a win. The top two teams in each division reach the playoffs and Portland could clinch a spot today with a win in Harrisburg, or a loss by New Britain (which is playing a doubleheader in Richmond).

Pitcher Michael Kopech, 18, a Red Sox first-round pick out of high school, pitched two innings in the Gulf Coast League: 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Kopech, who received a $1.5-million signing bonus, has made seven appearances, five of them scoreless. His ERA is 3.86.


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