Among all the talented prospects in the Red Sox’ farm system, there is one who seems to get lost in the shuffle.
Bryce Brentz is a 25-year-old outfielder who played his college ball at Middle Tennesse State University for the Blue Raiders. Drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, he quickly climbed the ranks of the minor leagues and established himself as an emerging top prospect in the organization.
By 2012, he was showing signs of why the Red Sox grabbed him in the first round. In 504 AB’s for Double-A Portland that year, he launched 17 home runs with 30 doubles and 76 RBIs. His best tool (power) was on full display, and he appeared to be on the fast track to becoming the Red Sox next right fielder.
Coming into the 2013 season, Brentz was ranked as the 6th best propect in the Sox’ system. His dreams were on the verge of reality as he would more than likely be invited to compete in a big league camp for the first time. But that never happened. Instead, an unfortunate accident occured and Brentz shot himself in the leg while cleaning out his handgun at home that January.
“Everything is fine, but I was cleaning my gun and it accidentally discharged on me and I sustained an injury. Nothing serious. That’s why I was out of big league camp, because at the time I’m not able to participate fully, but I am recovering very fast and should be OK for the season,” Brentz said, via Alex Spier of WEEI.
That injury cut his 2013 considerably, as he was only able to partcipate in 82 games for Triple-A Pawtucket. However, the time he did spend on the field did not go unnoticed. With his power to all fields, Brentz put up 17 homers and 56 RBIs with an OPS of .788. The hard work he endured to get back on the field was evident, and maybe even more impressive, was the grace in which he handled the entire injury situation for a young man. (Shooting yourself in the leg is probably not something that people forget about in the clubhouse).
We have finally reached present-day 2014, and Bryce Brentz is in his first big league camp. He looks like a man on a mission to prove to everybody that he can be an everyday right fielder at the major league level. While Spring Training stats hardly matter to most players, to up-and-coming prospects who have never tasted the bigs, it means a hell of a lot, and Brentz is off to a fantastic start, adding another home run today against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Regardless of his production, Brentz will likely start the year at Pawtucket as a starting outfielder, but could be beckoned by the Sox in the summer if he continues to flash this kind of power potential. Whatever happens, don’t take your eyes of Bryce Brentz.