Red Sox: Bryce Brentz may be Boston’s fourth outfielder in 2018
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox no longer have Bryce Brentz on their 40-man roster, but a path to Boston still exists for the once promising prospect.
On March 31, 2017 the Red Sox finally gave up on Bryce Brentz, outrighting him to Pawtucket after clearing waivers. I had given up on Brentz before the Red Sox had. A former number one draft pick that was projected to be a right-hand power bat, but that never materialized. Apparently, Brentz did not give up on Brentz.
Now a 28-year-old veteran holding down an outfield slot at Pawtucket, Brentz has had a resurgence and given a glimpse of what could have been. So let’s run the numbers as they now exist in the International League, where Brentz is third in home runs with 18.
Brentz along with Rusney Castillo – remember him? – are the power behind the PawSox home run throne. Brentz leads the team with 49 RBI and is hitting .271.
In 2016, between Portland and Pawtucket, Brentz hit just .242 with five home runs in 66 games. In 2015 it was a miserly .232.
"Potential regular, everyday type, solid contributor at the corner outfield spots if he can improve plate approach and pitch recognition to improve overall hit tool. If he can’t do that, profiles as a bench bat who will stick around due to power potential and arm strength. Sox ProspectsMore from Red Sox ProspectsPredicting top Red Sox outfield prospect Ceddanne Rafaela’s timeline to the majorsPredicting Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer’s timeline to the majorsRed Sox risk repeating rookie mistake with Eric Hosmer releaseRed Sox invited group of players you’ve probably never heard of to Spring TrainingJeter Downs’ official departure will continue to haunt Red Sox"
The buzz on Brentz started in 2011 when he slammed 30 home runs in a two league season while hitting .306. Prior to the 2012 season, Brentz ranked 64th on the MLB Prospect Watch list. Then his career stalled as Brentz drifted between Double and Triple-A. Brentz also had a taste of “The Show” with Boston in 2014 and 2016 with success. In 34 career games, Brentz hit .287 with one home run. I will leave out the gun issue.
Brentz will never displace Mookie Betts or even Andrew Benintendi with his fielding ability, but he does have the above-average range and a strong-arm from his normal corner outfield positions – so his glove work is not an obstacle. But for Boston, a young outfield group with exceptional talent presents a roadblock – at least in Boston.
"“It would be tough to say goodbye. But I just want to be on a team I know I can help. I’d love it to be here but if it’s somewhere else, that’s fine, too. It’s a business.” – Bryce Brentz via Boston Globe"
This season Brentz will be in the Triple-A Home Run Derby and is an IL All-Star. That should get attention. But there is a possible road to Boston in his future.
"“We’ll see what happens. I hope somebody wants me.” “I do know that I played this game longer than a lot of people. I don’t take that for granted.” – Bryce Brentz"
The Red Sox will need a reserve outfielder when the contract of Chris Young expires. Castillo could be added to the roster, but his price tag of $11.75 million is not compatible with the luxury tax issues. Brentz offers a far more friendly version. Brentz has certainly performed well in his brief MLB career and with continued success at Pawtucket, an offer may be in the works.
Next: Great Eduardo Rodriguez rehab start
Spring training will certainly have an opportunity for the resilient Brentz – if he is still with the organization. Quite possibly that scouting profile mentioned earlier will be prophetic?