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Jackie Bradley Jr. comps? We've got 'em

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  April 4, 2013 08:00 AM

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How long has it been since I've done one of these Random Lists of Five thingies? Let's just say that in one of the more recent ones there was a reference to recently burned music CDs. Hey, at least I wasn't still using a Walkman. To the lists ...

609bradley__1364909546_5667.jpggriffeykenfinn34.JPGFive seasons I could see a prime-of-career Jackie Bradley Jr. duplicating, and I'll spare you J.D. Drew's 2000 season even though it's a decent potential comp:
1. Ken Griffey Sr., 1980: Forget any sports-radio hyperbole comparing the Red Sox' phenom to Junior Griffey. If Bradley's best seasons resemble Griffey Sr.'s, which spanned 1976 to '80, his promise will have been fulfilled. Griffey's '80 season, when he hit .294 with an .818 OPS, 13 homers, 10 triples, 23 steals in 24 attempts, is the standard bearer. And Bradley will be the better defender. (Papa Griffey never won a Gold Glove.)
2. Lyman Bostock, 1977: Murdered at age 27 in September 1978, Bostock will forever remain one of the great what-ifs in baseball history. He played just four major league seasons, the finest of which was spectacular. In 1977, Bostock hit .336 with 14 homers, 62 extra-base hits, 16 steals, and an .897 OPS for the Twins before joining the Angels as a free agent over the winter. Bradley at his best projects to be more patient and a better defender but with perhaps a little lower batting average.
3. Shane Mack, 1992: Red Sox fans may remember Mack as a sore-shouldered flop with mish-mashed 1997 club, but he should be remembered for a string of outstanding seasons with the Twins in the early '90s. In '92, he hit .315 with a .394 OBP, 16 homers and 26 steals, a high-end expectation for Bradley.
4. Jose Cruz, 1983: One of the more underrated hitters of the '70s and early '80s, "Cheo" hit .318 with 14 homers, 30 steals, and a league-high 189 hits while finishing sixth in the NL MVP ballotinng.
5. Jackie Robinson, 1952: Well, the on-base percentage -- a league-best .440 -- is probably unattainable, but the .308 average with 19 homers and 24 steals is more than reasonable. And it just seems right to match him up with the most admirable of Jackies.

Top five selections in the 1990 NHL Draft:
1. Owen Nolan, Nordiques: NHL goal total: 422
2. Petr Nedved, Canucks: NHL goal total: 310
3. Keith Primeau, Red Wings: NHL goal total: 266
4. Mike Ricci, Flyers: NHL goal total: 243
5. Jaromir Jagr, Penguins: NHL goal total: 679 and counting.

Top five selections by the Bruins in the 1991 NHL Draft:
1. Glen Murray. NHL goal total: 227
2. Jozef Stumpel. NHL goal total: 196
3. Marcel Cousineau. NHL goal total. 0. But he did have an assist once.
4. Brad Tiley. NHL goal total: 0. Played 11 NHL games.
5. Mariusz Czerkawski. NHL goal total: 215

Five best draft choices, in order and weighted by where the player was selected, by the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era. (Excluding the 199th overall pick in 2000, the best pick in league history):
1. Rob Gronkowski, 42d overall, 2010: If healthy -- and I hate that if, too -- he's a game-changer, with 38 touchdowns in 43 career games.
2. David Givens, 253d overall, 2002: Had a touchdown catch in seven consecutive postseason games.
3. Vince Wilfork, 21st overall, 2004: Yeah, he was a first-rounder, but at that position, getting the ideal fulcrum for the defensive scheme was an absolute heist.
4. Aaron Hernandez, 113th overall, 2010: A tight end with a receiver's skill-set and a running back's open-field instincts.
5. Dan Koppen, 164th overall, 2003: Played 121 games at center during nine seasons in New England, had Tom Brady's utmost trust.

And the five worst, which actually could all be defensive backs:
1. Chad Jackson, 36th overall, 2006: Traded up to get the Florida receiver. Sixteen picks later, Green Bay, which traded down, chose Greg Jennings.
2. Terrence Wheatley, 62d overall, 2008: Played just 11 games for the Patriots. Are we sure he existed?
3. Shawn Crable, 78th overall, 2008: Limited to six games due to injury, mostly to his matchstick legs.
4. Ron Brace, 40th overall, 2009: How could anyone so large so often be invisible?
5. Brock Williams, 86th overall, 2001: Foreshadowed all the failed draft picks in the defensive backfield to follow.

mcadoofinn34.JPGFive basketball legends who played for the Celtics in the '70s and '80s after making their name elsewhere:
1. Ernie DiGregorio: Averaged 2.4 assists in 10.1 minutes per game in 1977-78, his final year in the league.
2. Dave Bing: Hall of Famer and Pistons great retired after averaging 13.4 ppg in 1977-78,
3. Bob McAdoo: Averaged 20.6 ppg in 20 games for dismal, fractured 1978-79 squad.
4. Tiny Archibald: Made three All-Star teams in five seasons in Boston (1979-83) and averaged 13.8 ppg for 1980-81 champs.
5. Pete Maravich: In 20 games for the 1979-80 Celtics, he averaged 11.5 ppg in his final year at age 32. Can't help but imagine what it would have been like to watch Pistol Pete at the peak of his powers play with Larry Bird.

Five partial player comments from the 1997 Baseball Prospectus annual:
1. On Mariano Rivera: "... I think he needs a better second pitch and more work. The better second pitch is a big issue, because Rivera got hit worst when he fell behind and had to come in with a fastball for a strike. Without one, I think he'll decline further this year.
2. On Trot Nixon: "One of the more overrated prospects in baseball. Nixon has more tools than Home Depot, but he uses them about as well as the government uses tax revenues. His back troubles have damaged his game as well. As Boston's #1 pick in 1993, he'll get plenty of chances to embarrass himself in the majors."
3. On Tim Wakefield: "Three years after nearly washing out of baseball, two years after nearly winning the Cy Young and just months after a temporary demotion to the pen, Wakefield may have found his niche: middle-of-the-rotation innings eater."
4. On Jeff Bagwell: "A fine defender, intelligent baserunner, and one of the best power hitters in the game. Still looks like an adult Bud Bundy ...."
5. On David Ortiz: "... He is very young, and the Twins may want him to have more than a half-season at Double A before they hand him a starting job in the majors, but his upside is very high. Think Dave Parker."

iginlajaromefinn34.JPGFive players chosen in the first round of the 1995 NHL Draft:
1. Bryan Berard, defenseman, No.1 overall, Ottawa
2. Wade Redden, defenseman, No. 2 overall, NY Islanders
3. Kyle McLaren, defenseman, No. 9 overall, Boston
4. Jarome Iginla, forward, No. 11 overall, Dallas
5. Petr Sykora, forward, No. 18 overall, New Jersey

Five players drafted ahead of Rajon Rondo (21st overall) in the 2006 NBA Draft:
1. Adam Morrison, Charlotte, No. 3 overall: Hey, he did win two championships with the Lakers. He also scored a total of 84 points over those two seasons.
2. Shelden Williams, Atlanta, No. 5: Go ahead. Make the shoulda-drafted-Candice Parker joke. I'll wait.
3. Patrick O'Bryant, Golden State, No. 9: I remember the precise moment I knew he was never going to be a viable backup for the Celtics -- when spent pregame warmups during a game against the Raptors trying to beat Big Baby Davis with crossover moves.
4. Mouhamed Sene, Seattle, No. 10
5. Oleksiy Pecherov, Minnesota, No. 19.

Five most talented receivers (in order) to play for the Patriots since I began paying attention in 1978:
1.Randy Moss (2007-10). 52 games, 50 touchdowns.
2. Terry Glenn (1996-2001). Made it look so easy when he was in the right frame of mind. Telling that when Troy Brown was asked last season which former teammate of his the '12 Patriots could use most, he cited No. 88.
3. Irving Fryar (1984-92).Watch out for those Foxborough trees.
4. Stanley Morgan (1977-89). 534 catches at 19.4 per
5. Wes Welker (2007-12). No, he wasn't a deep threat. But he somehow managed to be an upgrade on the great Troy Brown as a slot receiver, and that's a tribute to his talent as well as his oft-cited determination.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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