Adjustments Help Brentz's Power Play
BOSTON—In the final week of the regular season, Bryce Brentz received a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. Though he struggled initially, going hitless in his first four games, the slugging right fielder immediately brought to mind another power-hitting prospect who struggled in his first taste of Triple-A at the end of the 2011 season.
"Kind of reminded me of (Will) Middlebrooks last year when he first got here: tools off the charts, and it's just fun to watch him play," Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He's fun to watch. He can do a lot of things. The ball comes off his bat very easy and very loud. He can drive the baseball. It's a really live bat. He's played solid in the outfield. He can throw the ball, he moves around well. Fun guy to watch play. It's going to be fun to watch him develop, see what happens, because he's definitely a guy that can impact the middle of the lineup with his bat."
That became apparent during a postseason stretch. Brentz, 23, went 8-for-24 with two homers, three doubles and a triple along with two walks while still trying to get his footing.
The performance represented the punctuation mark on a year-long adaptation to more advanced pitching. In 2011, Brentz slammed 30 homers in 105 games between low Class A Greenville and high Class A Salem. But in Double-A this year, he hit .216/.266/.318 with one homer through 23 games.
However, he adjusted to the prevalence of offspeed pitches, and while he ended the regular season with 17 homers, his Portland line of .296/.355/.478 suggested a player developing an approach to let his power play.
"The power's still there," Brentz said. "It's just the difference between the levels, this is a higher level of baseball. You can't cheat looking for a fastball. This year was more about becoming a complete hitter, having discipline at the plate, knowing situations, what they're trying to do, what the scoreboard says."
That advancement, in turn, has the 2010 supplemental first-rounder—who will participate in the Arizona Fall League—nearing the point where he can envision joining Middlebrooks in the majors, perhaps as soon as 2013.
• The Red Sox hired Eddie Bane as a special assistant, player personnel. Bane spent the last two years as a Tigers major league scout and served as the Angels' scouting director from 2004-10.
• The Red Sox will pick seventh in the 2013 draft, just the second time since 1968 that the team will have a top 10 pick.