After that brief, rocky beginning, Brentz morphed into one of Pawtucket’s hottest hitters throughout its postseason run to the Governors’ Cup. Brentz went 2-for-5 in his last regular-season game, then 8-for-24 through the playoffs. More impressive, six of those eight hits went for extra bases.
The hope is that the late-season experience with the PawSox serves as a head start for Brentz in 2013 — the way it did for Will Middlebrooks last season. Middlebrooks, after all, couldn’t boast of any Triple-A success before exploding out of the gates in Pawtucket last April.
“It was toward the end, but I got a little feel for the league,” Brentz said Friday, while he was in town for the organization’s rookie development program. “It helps to get that little taste and know what you’re walking into. Each level as a player, especially when you’re moving up, is a new animal and a new mountain to climb. Sometimes it takes a little while for players to figure out the league and get comfortable. Having experienced that, I think I have an edge going into next season.”
Brentz is somebody who has intrigued me for a while. While he doesn't grade out as a high-potential prospect the way Jackie Bradley and Xander Bogaerts, Brentz is a power-hitting outfielder in an organization that hasn't produced one in...a while. Not counting Jacoby Ellsbury's phantom 2011 season, the last time a home-grown prospect hit for power was...Trot Nixon, maybe? (Well, Josh Reddick, but let's move along before I get depressed.)
Making the Brentz to Middlebrooks comparison yields the obvious question: Does this mean we should expect Bryce to make an impact on the 2013 Red Sox (Boston variety, not Pawtucket)? Right now it seems unlikely, but this time last year it didn't seem very likely for a corner infielder to bust through the Kevin Youkilis/Adrian Gonzalez combo in a year in which the team was expected to contend. A lot can change.
Maybe Ellsbury does finally get traded. Maybe Gomes gets hurt and the team doesn't want to trust Daniel Nava with a full-time role. Maybe Brentz plays so well they have no choice to bring him up and figure out workload later. Maybe Ortiz gets hurt, Lavarnway slumps, and they need a DH. A lot could happen, and if it does, Brentz might be a viable option.
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