It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox are struggling. Coming into Sunday, they had dropped nine straight and sat in the cellar of the hypothesized formidable American League East with an abysmal 20-28 record. Only the Houston Astros had an inferior winning percentage in the American League. Was this rock bottom? Could it get any worse? Well, that question was abruptly answered with the news Mike Napoli hit the 15-day DL with a sprained left finger.
Napoli had been scuffling of late, but churned an exceptional .260/.390/.416 slash line in 187 plate appearances to begin the year. A third of Boston’s starting lineup is now sidelined with an ailment as Napoli joins Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list.
Brandon Workman, who took the hill for Boston Sunday, had to take someone’s roster spot, so he could be placed on the active roster and make his start. It worked out perfectly with Napoli having to take some time to recover. However, this left the Red Sox with an extra pitcher on the roster and short three-man bench. It’s evident a position player will be called up shortly — preferably an outfielder — to provide the Red Sox’ impotent outfield with depth. Would it be so erroneous to think Bryce Brentz (the Red Sox’ spring training MVP) is a sensible call up?
Brentz is on the 7-day DL at this juncture, but will more than likely be activated and ready to play baseball in the midst of Napoli’s disabled list time. After not getting off to the torrid start he would’ve liked to in Pawtucket, Brentz has really come around. In 158 plate appearances, the right-handed hitter has compiled a solid .230/.335/.430 clip. He complements his offensive prowess with adequate defense and an extremely strong arm, which he flashed in Spring Training.
Brentz was arguably Boston’s paramount player in Fort Myers, Florida. He posted a sub-human 1.149 OPS and hit three long balls in 25 at-bats. Even after the 25-year-old looked so aplomb in spring, Boston decided half-way through, he was not their guy. They wanted him to get more chances in the minors and refine his plate discipline a bit.
Farrell stuck with Jackie Bradley Jr. (-0.2 fWAR), Grady Sizemore (-0.3 fWAR), Daniel Nava (-0.4 fWAR), and Jonny Gomes (0.1 fWAR) to begin the season, and had high hopes for each. As fate would have it, all four of the aforementioned outfielders have been worse than replacement-level players — sans Gomes.
Brentz’s offensive poise is irrefutable and with a team struggling to find a spark offensively, there’s virtually no harm in giving Brentz a shot.