I haven't touched much on the Red Sox decision to keep Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the majors this spring, mainly because I really didn't know how I felt about it. In general, I typically take the stance against rushing players to the majors, mainly for developmental reasons, but also for the typical contract and production reasons. I made the argument this spring about both Yasiel Puig and Aaron Hicks.
But every situation is different.
I have less of a problem with the Red Sox to keep Bradley in the majors than I do with the Twins decision to keep Hicks, or I would have with Puig, and certainly less than I do with the Marlins decision to keep Jose Fernandez around (which I've hated for months before they decided to screw it up). Much like with Hicks, Bradley will be able to hold his own in the majors more so than a player like Puig or others, mainly because his abilities are based around speed, defense, and plate discipline - skills that typically transfer well to the majors.
Unlike Hicks and the Twins, however, the Red Sox plan to be competitive this season. The Twins are absolutely wasting a season of Hicks' cheap years on a team that won't be competitive, but the Red Sox probably won't be wasting Bradley. They should at least be somewhat competitive this season, and Bradley should represent a decent upgrade over their other options in left field.
The same argument can be made about Bradley that is made with other prospects - that even if he's ready to hold his head above water in the majors, he won't be nearly as good this season at age 23 as he will be in six years at age 29 if they held him back an additional year. But Bradley is a little older than many of these other prospects for whom we make this argument so there's a better chance he's closer to being the completed version of himself. Additionally, it's different when it's a competitive team. It may be worth the difference between those two seasons if it means getting to the playoffs now or not. In that case, it may be a good decision by the Red Sox.
Bradley is still better off getting some time in Triple-A before heading to the majors, but unlike with some prospects, the possible consequences aren't devastating and the possible reward for the Red Sox is greater by comparison. I still like to see prospects get their full developmental time, but in this case, bring Bradley to the majors this Opening Day isn't a terrible decision.