Minor Matters: Bryce Brentz Ready for the Show
When he’s not shooting himself, Bryce Brentz is a pretty nice prospect.
After Boston Red Sox outfield prospect Bryce Brentz went yard Sunday for his second dinger in five games, third in nine contests and ninth overall this season, we realized it was high time to shine the prospect glare on him.
He got off to a slow start this season, missing most of big league training camp because – get ready for this – he shot himself.
While that mishap might make some question his smarts, there’s no denying he’s bounced back nicely and is enjoying a very fine first full season at Triple-A, which puts him squarely on a collision course with Fenway Park very, very soon.
Jacoby Ellsbury is almost certainly done as a Red Sox after this year, and the three-headed beast in left field of Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp is hardly a roadblock. Obviously, Jackie Bradley Jr. must fit in at centrefield, but there’s room for Brentz if he continues to impress.
Brentz is doing a better job of drawing walks this season, as you can see in the video below.
Known as an RBI machine, he’s a notoriously streaky player, one that PawSox Manager Gary DiSarcina recently compared to former Mariner Jay Buhner.
A mini slump (2-for-10) this weekend has dropped Brentz to .275, but we love the extra base pop (10 doubles and one triple to go along with his nine homers). His OBP is headed in the wrong direction, but that’s to be expected because even though he’s walking more often, his BA will likely continue to slide as he moves up – don’t expect Brentz to be much more than a .250ish big league hitter (with nice power and production).
A 2010 sandwich pick, Brentz has arrived as one of the Red Sox top prospects, but even though he’s making much better contact this year, it’s still a weakness in his game (136 strikeouts in 127 games last year; 44 in 44 games this season).
Brentz was a pretty good two-way player, and the Indians originally took him in the 30th round of the 2007 draft as a pitcher, but he didn’t sign, opting to go Middle Tennessee State instead. He’s also been compared to another fine former two-way player – Nick Markakis, but we highly doubt he’ll hit for as high a BA as the Orioles’ flyhawk.
- San Diego Padres 2B prospect Dean Anna is enjoying a breakout year in his first season at Triple-A. A 28th round pick in 2008, he had a decent season at Double-A last year, but is suddenly batting a robust .330 with a PCL-leading 17 doubles as the leadoff man for the Tucson Padres. Anna isn’t much of a long-ball threat, but is already halfway to matching last year’s home run output and he’s piling up the counting cats with 30 runs and 26 RBI in 47 games. Anna isn’t drawing walks at his usual rate, but he’s also reduced his strikeouts. At the age of 26, there’s not much upside here, but at the very least, he has put himself on the map as a possible September callup with his 2013 performance.
- Late in the 2010 season, Aaron Cunningham was actually someone worth considering for your Fantasy squads, but it’s been downhill since. However, the 27-year-old outfielder is enjoying a nice comeback season in his first year in the Texas Rangers system. Cunningham is flashing gap power and great on-base skills while his counting cats are improving this month. After appearing in a career-high 72 big league games last year, it’s about time for him to get another look soon – and who knows? Cunningham might actually offer a modicum of value if he gets enough PT.
- Still in the Texas system, first baseman Chris McGuiness is enjoying a very nice Triple-A debut, landing the 25-year-old onto the prospect map a season after he was an organizational All-Star at Double-A. After a torrid start to May, he’s cooled considerably lately, but showed signs of life Sunday with his 15th double and a pair of walks. We are loving the patience (30 free passes in 47 game) and while speed is not McGuiness’ thang, he flashes enough pop to be worth tracking.
- We’ve been watching him for almost four years now, but New York Mets shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores is finally on the cusp of being a big leaguer. Of course, even though he’s been on our radar for years, it’s important to remember that he’s still just 21, so time remains on his side. In his first season at Triple-A, Flores started somewhat slowly, but he’s really picked up the pace of late. On Sunday, he enjoyed a second straight multi-hit effort and is hitting .317 over the last 10 games to raise his season average to .279. The counting cats are very impressive, and while he looks hard pressed to match the career high 18 dingers he mashed last year, Flores is already up to 15 doubles, so it’s not as if his pop has completely disappeared.
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