Red Sox Rumors: Bryce Brentz could serve as fourth outfielder in 2018
By Paul Doran
The Red Sox seem content to fill roster holes from within in regard to 2018. Dave Dombrowski sees the fourth-outfielder’s spot as one of those places.
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski obviously likes what he sees when it comes to the team’s minor-leaguers. According to a report from Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Dombrowski cited Bryce Brentz as a potential candidate for the Red Sox fourth outfielder’s spot.
Dombrowski mentioned Bryce Brentz as a prominent candidate for 4th OF. Castillo’s contract (which would trigger a cap hit) appears to exclude him.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) November 14, 2017
Brentz had a breakout year for the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate in 2017, in which he slashed .271/.334/.529 (.863 OPS,) with 31 homers and 85 RBI. While his strikeout total remained high (102 SO,) the free-swinging righty’s walk total saw a jump to a career high 42 walks. His isolated power (ISO) saw a huge jump to .258, which FanGraphs dot-com considers an excellent Isolated Power year.
The 28-year old would be filling Chris Young‘s spot on the roster. Young served as a platoon player in left field and at DH, primarily against lefties, for the last two seasons. This suits Brentz perfectly, as hitting left-handed pitching is his bread and butter. In 2017 in Pawtucket, Brentz saw his OPS reach .957 against LHP. Brentz has MLB experience on his resume, albeit in a small sample size. In 34 games in Boston spread out between 2014 and 2016, Brentz slashed .279/.313/.377. He also sports an isolated power of .088, which hovers over awful.
Abraham goes on to editorialize in his tweet, suggesting the contract situation around Rusney Castillo forces him out of any conversations in regard to 2018. While this seems like a no-brainer, Castillo’s performance in the minors merits a second look. With Pawtucket last season, the 30-year old sported a .314/.350/.507 slash line. He hit 15 homers, 22 doubles and drove in 43 runs.
Those numbers are so un-Castillo it almost does merit a second look. However, his $72-million contract renders him obsolete in terms of MLB service in 2018. His $11-million would count against the luxury tax if he was added to the 40-man roster. That would put the Red Sox in an uncomfortable payroll situation, and they’d – obviously – like to avoid that.
Next: Red Sox Rumors: Dombrowski hints at Hernandez filling vacancy at second base
Sources: Baseball-reference, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Sportrac.