Jeff Bailey was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the second round of the 1997 MLB Draft. Jeff began his Boston Red Sox career in 2004 joining the Double-A Portland Seadogs. In 2004 and 2005 Bailey bounced back and forth between the Seadogs and the Boston Red Sox Triple-A club in Pawtucket. Bailey stayed with the PawSox for three more years until Boston called him up to play in three games in 2007. After getting a taste of major league baseball, Jeff played in twenty-seven more games for the Sox last season.
Jeff made the opening day roster for the Boston Red Sox in 2009 due to some injuries at spring training and has played in 21 games for Boston this year. Bailey is a multi-tasker, able to play both corner outfield positions, first base and designated hitter. The Red Sox have given Jeff Bailey a shot in 2009 after he was named the 2008 International League MVP for the Pawtucket Red Sox. In 2008 with the PawSox, Bailey hit .301 with 25 homers. With the ability to be moved around the field and a powerful bat in the lineup, Bailey could be a viable asset for the Sox this season due to injuries and a slumping David Ortiz.
In Jeff Bailey's short stint with the Boston in 2008, I was lucky enough to see him in action at Fenway Park when he hit one of his two home runs with the major league club that season. Knowing that Jeff was brought up for his bat, SoxProspects also released a scouting report for his overall play and club expectations:
Bailey mainly plays 1B and corner outfield these days after previously spending a lot of time as a catcher. He is adequate defensively, with below average range, a decent glove, and a good arm. With the bat, he has outstanding power and strength. Good contact and plate patience. Slow on the basepaths, but runs intelligently - about what you'd expect from a converted catcher. Strikes out a little too much, but that has improved over the years. Has potential to be a versatile backup and off-the-bench bat at the major league level. Probably could start for a lot of small market teams. Bailey has been a team leader and model teammate with the Red Sox organization for five seasons.
Jeff Bailey has struggled in the 2009 season with the Red Sox batting a mere .197 with 3 home runs, but has come on of late with more playing time due to Kevin Youkilis' time off on the 15 Day-DL. With ample at bats and more self-esteem built up from coach Terry Francona starting Bailey in the lineup, I can see a bright future for Jeff with the Boston Red Sox. If Bailey doesn't get the at bats, and continues to struggle to hit the ball, he could see himself back in Pawtucket before seasons end.
Thanks to firebrandal for the sweet action shot of Jeff Bailey swinging.