Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Bradley's season has been interrupted by another stint on the disabled list, this time for right elbow inflammation. It's hard to complain about what he's accomplished in spite of injuries and a few call-ups to the bigs that interrupted his development, though: he's hitting .277/.378/.489, also known as a better line than what he produced at Double-A Portland, and has kept his walks and strikeouts fairly close without too little of the former or too many of the latter.
If he's healthy come September, Bradley will likely be up as part of expanded rosters, giving the Red Sox another defensive option for the outfield as well as a pinch-runner. He's certainly capable of starting a game to give any of the outfielders a day off, as well, and if someone gets hurt between September 1 and the playoffs -- should the Sox be in it -- he's a candidate to be on the October roster, as well. He'll have to get back from this elbow issue, first: you could understand if the Red Sox just wanted to let him rest for a bit, to let the inflammation and any after effects fully subside.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Middlebrooks has 44 games at Pawtucket this season and just 53 in the majors -- it won't be long before he's spent more of his season in Triple-A than he did with the Red Sox. There's still work to be done here, but he's coming along, even if you don't love the line he's produced. He's struck out under 19 percent of the time, and while walks over eight percent of the time aren't going to break any records, it's a step in the right direction for the third baseman.
He will very likely get as many at-bats as he can in the time remaining in Pawtucket's season -- possibly playoffs included, should they qualify -- and then come to the Sox as a September call-up. That doesn't mean he'll play consistently in September, of course -- one assumes the hot corner will be in the possession of top prospect Xander Bogaerts by then -- but bringing Middlebrooks back as something of a soft launch to prepare him for next year, when he very well might be the Opening Day third baseman once more, would make a lot of sense. At that point, assuming Stephen Drew has headed off elsewhere, Bogaerts will be the shortstop, leaving third open for Middlebrooks' second chance at showing he's Boston's third baseman.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
Ranaudo was recently covered in our Portland updates, but we'll take another look post-promotion. The right-hander pitched about as well as you can in a Triple-A debut, going six frames without allowing a walk while striking out five, all without giving up a run. A few more starts like this and we'll start to wonder if Ranaudo was just getting bored with being at Double-A, rather than tired. Let's let that happen or not happen before we assume anything, though.
If Ranaudo does plow through Triple-A batters for the rest of the month, there's always the chance he could be added to the 40-man roster and stuck in the big-league bullpen come September. That being said, the Sox are generally protective of their 40-man assets, and are already going to have to make some moves shortly when Davis Ross returns from the 60-day disabled list, and, presumably, when the aforementioned Bogaerts comes to town.
Read more Red Sox:
- The transformation of Red Sox prospect Alex Hassan
- On Daniel Nava and baseball players as people
- Red Sox system loaded with pitching prospects, from top to bottom
- It's time to bring Xander Bogaerts up to the Red Sox
- Steven Wright's spot start an important moment for Red Sox pitching depth