The Boston Red Sox's announced Opening Day roster includes a name few imagined would be there at the start of spring training: Jackie Bradley Jr.
The 22-year-old will start in left field for the team's 1:05 opener at Yankee Stadium on Monday, the team announced, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham.
Bradley Jr. entered spring training as a highly regarded prospect -- ranked No. 31 in MLB by Baseball America -- but a long shot to make the team. He then made the preseason's biggest splash by hitting .419 (26 for 62) with two home runs, 12 RBI and 10 walks in 28 games.
A first-round pick (40th overall) in the 2011 draft, the left-handed-hitting University of South Carolina product played just 10 minor-league games in 2011 and began 2012 in Single-A. He was promoted to Double-A for 61 games and hit a combined .315 with nine home runs, 24 stolen bases and a .911 OPS in the minors last season.
Manager John Farrell told Bradley Jr. he'd won the starting job during a Saturday night plane ride, according to CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam:
Veterans Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino are expected to start in center and right field, respectively, with Johnny Gomes, Mike Carp and Daniel Nava on the bench.
[SI's Complete Team-By-Team MLB Season Preview]