The Boston Red Sox have three young and strong stars in their outfield, but Bryce Brentz is also officially on the 40-man roster. How long will that last?
He’s not a starting outfielder for the Boston Red Sox. He’s not an option as a replacement on the bench for the outfield. Heck, he’s not even on the recent depth chart. Yet, Bryce Brentz is on the 40-man roster. What’s he doing here, then?
Brentz was drafted by the Red Sox in the 1st round of the 2010 draft (36th overall), and was thought highly of even two years later. He was ranked 64th by MLB.com before the 2012 season. The 6’0″, 210-pound righty worked up the minor league system and played for Triple-A Pawtucket before being called up to the big club in 2014. He played nine games and made eight hits for two RBIs, crossed the plate five times, and had nine strikeouts in 26 at-bats.
In 2015, Brentz played 59 games in Pawtucket, hitting a slash line of .232/.308/.382 with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 250 plate appearances. Defensively, Brentz earned a .978 fielding percentage and a 2.07 range factor per game.
Nevermind the bats for a second. Looking solely at the defense of two of the starters, Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 2.23 range factor and .993 fielding percentage, while Rusney Castillo had a 2.11 range factor and a .969 fielding percentage. Let’s not even soil Mookie Betts in this conversation, as his offense and incredible defense as the Red Sox center fielder should have had more of a consideration for All-Star status this season. The other two men had much better bats than Brentz, and Bradley Jr.’s highlight-reel catches easily separated him from a comparison to Brentz. And, even if you wanted to pick on Castillo’s fielding percentage being lower, his power and offensive production was only surpassed by his potential to do even better next year.
As far as replacements go, Brentz would also take a backseat to Boston’s All-Star utility player Brock Holt if the opportunity arose. Even if Holt could not be used, likely because of the need for him in the infield, Travis Shaw and a bunch of other prospects could help out in multiple capacities.
With all of that in mind, how long do you think Brentz is going to stay on the 40-man roster?
At this point, Brentz seems poised as a trading chip for other positions to be filled, either before spring training or at the trade deadline in the summer. His numbers are not overpowering, suggesting that he could only be a part of a packaged deal, not a one-for-one move. It’s not that his potential could not shine through for another team; however, with the chance provided without much to scream about, it’s just hard seeing him staying in Boston as part of the Red Sox future.