Who is he and where did he come from?
He’s Bradley Zimmer, one of the best baseball players to ever come out of the University of San Fransisco, making him just one of two things I know about the University of San Fransisco (the other being that Bill Russell and K.C. Jones played there before joining the Celtics. Go Dons!) The Red Sox signed him to a minor league free agent contact after he was released by the Dodgers.
What position does he play?
Centerfield, almost exclusively.
Is he any good?
There was a time when people thought he was going to be real good. Bradley was one of the best collegiate players in the country during his time at USF, and he was named the MVP of the Cape Cod Baseball League Playoffs before being drafted 21st overall by the Cleveland Guardians. Viewed as a potential power-speed threat, he was ranked as high as the 19th best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com and spent less than three full seasons in the minors before making his Major League debut in 2017.
Things haven’t quite worked out for him in the big leagues. While the speed is still there (he’s successfully stolen 42 bases in 50 career attempts) he just hasn’t been able to make enough contact at the plate. He struck out in nearly 30% of his at-bats as a rookie and somehow got worse from there, eventually putting up a 38% K-rate over 348 plate appearances in 2021, a number that would have easily led the league had he qualified.
Show me a cool highlight.
Zimmer once homered off his own brother! That’s only happened three times in all of baseball, which definitely qualifies as cool.
What’s he doing in his picture up there?
What’s his role on the 2023 Red Sox?
He probably won’t have one. The Red Sox will have an outfield crunch soon enough with Adam Duvall returning. And with Jarren Duran having grabbed onto the centerfield spot with gusto, one of Rob Refsnyder or Ramiel Tapia will likely be on the chopping block. This appears to be purely a AAA depth signing made necessary by the recent trade of Greg Allen. He does have an excellent glove though (96th percentile outs above average in 2021) and with that speed he could be a useful bench piece some day if can ever improve his hit tool.