So, around the time Saving Private Ryan came out, I decided Giovanni Ribisi was a good actor. There was that, and Boiler Room, and Lost in Translation, and I thought this dude was something special.
It didn't dominate my life or anything, but to some extent or another, I clung to that thought until late 2013, when Dads debuted on Fox. If you didn't see it, Dads was a Seth MacFarlane sitcom starring Ribisi and Seth Green as two guys who had, you know, dads. It was horrible. Offensive, stupid, poorly written and, most frustratingly for my purposes, poorly acted.
It called my Ribisi love into question. Was he actually not so good? Was he just the product of those three early, really good movies? Cold Mountain. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Perfect Stranger. Not only were these not good movies, but Ribisi couldn't rise above the material either.
I confirmation bias-ed myself. I decided Ribisi was good, so I paid attention to his good roles and ignored the less good ones. We're all victims of it.
So, you know, Mookie Betts was everybody's darling in spring. Just before Opening Day, I was having some super-late fantasy drafts, and I thought about targeting him a few rounds before he was ranked, and every time someone else jumped on him even earlier than I did.
And then on the first day of the season, Betts homered. We all rejoiced, and things were good. And then last Tuesday, he had that game. You know the one. Robbed Bryce Harper of a home run, hit one of his own, stole two bases on the same play. On top of that, it was a day game on a day with no other day games (I think it was by itself; checking gametimes after the fact is difficult), meaning he had the full national spotlight for that.
We were right, you see. We all loved Betts, he was great, yay us, see you in Cooperstown, right?
Through Tuesday's games, Betts is hitting .200/.262/.345. That's an OPS+ of 69 (nice). He's likely to still be great, of course, but we confirmation biased the hell out of ourselves on this one so far.
Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez has been pretty good in the Boston outfield. Otherwise, that outfield has struggled. Shane Victorino is hitting .147/.293/.176. Allen Craig is at .133/.278/.133. Daniel Nava is the "bright spot" here, with a slash line of .240/.296/.280. Sure, small-sample caveats apply all over this, but things in the Boston outfield haven't been very fun so far.
For most teams, there's nothing for it. You keep running the guys you have out there and hope something improves. For the Red Sox, though, there are options. Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .348 in AAA, and Rusney Castillo is due back from the disabled list within the next week or so.
If not for Betts, Castillo might have been in the bigs from Opening Day. He's still 46-percent owned in Yahoo! fantasy leagues. Bradley is all the way down at 0. Obviously, Castillo is a better prospect at this point, particularly for fantasy, and if all things were equal, Boston's first change, whenever it comes, would be for him. That's why he's worth stashing in fantasy.
Thing is, though, that all things aren't equal. For one thing, as I said above, Castillo is hurt. He's got at least another week or so before he's healthy, and after that he'll need at least some time to get back to full strength. Meanwhile, Victorino might be done. Betts, Craig and Nava are struggling. The Cubs have shown it's not too early to make a change, necessarily.
And here's the thing about Bradley. The Red Sox might be positive an outfield of Ramirez, Betts, Castillo, Victorino, Craig, Nava is their future. It's believable. But if that's the case, Bradley has no value to them. And, considering he's in the minors now after having shown nothing at all in the bigs before, if they were to try to deal Bradley today, the return would be itty-bitty and sad. (To be fair, we know without doubt Bradley is a super-elite defender, but he needs to hit to help.)
Basically, in order for Bradley to be worth anything to the Red Sox ever, he needs to be in the big leagues. He either needs to be up and producing, or up, producing and in a trade package.
Both Castillo and Bradley are good deep-league fantasy stashes right now. At least one, and maybe both, will be in the bigs by mid-May, I can say pretty confidently. If you need outfield help, and things are thin, those guys — particularly Bradley — are worth a thought.