This past weekend I visited Hadlock Field home of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox Double-A affiliate. I was very impressed. The ballpark has its own version of the Green Monster and a Citgo sign. The park even has a retired numbers section featuring Red Sox players with the numbers they wore during their stint in Portland. All the Red Sox players who came up through the system, like Jon Lester, played at Hadlock Field and sometime this week Carl Crawford is expected to make a trip up to Maine on a rehab assignment. Hot outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. got promoted to Portland last week.
Bradley, was selected by the Red Sox in the first round of last years draft out of South Carolina. He has made his way to Double-A in just over a year which is faster than a lot of major league players today. He should be on track to make his major league debut sometime next season, possibly starting next year at Pawtucket. Baseball America describes him as a defense first outfielder. I would say he has above average speed as he got to a great deal of balls hit to center. If Jacoby Ellsbury stays with the Red Sox beyond next year Bradley would move to right field and the outfield would feature them and Carl Crawford. Not too many balls hit in the outfield will be dropping. And if Ellsbury does leave after next year or is traded, Bradley could be his replacement in center.
The Sea Dogs played the Trenton Thunder the Double-A affiliate of the Yankees. Eastern League All Star Chris Hernandez started for Portland and threw five innings of two run ball. After giving up a lead off home run to Yankee prospect Jose Pirela. Josh Fields, yes the Josh Fields the Red Sox obtained in the Erik Bedard deal last season pitched one and two thirds of unblemished baseball and got the win. The Sea Dogs bats were quiet until the eighth inning when they scored three runs off a bases clearing double from Jeremy Hazelbaker to tie the game at three. In the bottom of the ninth Drew Hedman hit a walk off home run to win the game for the Sea Dogs!
I would recommend visiting Hadlock field to any Red Sox fan and baseball fan in general. It is my goal to visit all of the Red Sox minor league teams. With so many injuries this season for the Red Sox a lot of players are forced into roles and making the most of their opportunities. All these players can be seen from the start of their professional careers in essentially any New Englander’s backyard. A trip to Pawtucket and Portland and even Lowell is surely worth your while, you will be seeing the next major league ballplayers.