Early September Bryce Brentz got the long-overdue call to the majors. Since then he’s only been given two plate appearances to showcase his offensive skills. For comparison, starting pitchers Brandon Workman and Anthony Ranaudo have been up to the plate the same amount in that time-span.
It seems rather strange that a player who hit a robust .243/.341/.465 clip with Pawtucket this season, not to mention one who has always been a highly-regarded offensive prospect, would be given such meager opportunities when he finally arrived in the big-leagues. Boston does, indeed, have a plethora of outfielders on their current expanded roster, but there’s absolutely no excuse for keeping Brentz on the bench when a southpaw is on the mound. .
I say this, in part, because of Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s inefficiency to hit against lefties. The latter has an inefficiency to hit in general, but the former has struggled mightily when the switch-hitter has had to bat from the right-side of the plate whenever a left-handed pitcher takes the hill. Also, the fact Brentz has compiled a 1.089 OPS against left-handers in Pawtucket this season certainly doesn’t hurt.
Now, I am very much aware that Brentz will likely have no shot at being a long-term contributor. It’s not a knock on him or his talent; rather, it’s a byproduct of the surplus of outfielders that Boston possesses. In fact, they’re projected to have Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Yoenis Cespedes, Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. under contract in 2015, giving the Red Sox seven outfielders with only three starting spots. And, of course, this doesn’t include Brentz even though he’s got the potential to be a valuable commodity offensively and defensively.
So why, you might ask, would it make sense to start the 25-year-old right-handed hitter? Well, allowing Brentz to start these next few games would give other teams a bigger sample size to look at with the corner outfielder against MLB pitching. This, in turn, would increase his trade value, especially if he performs well.
All said, no harm can come from starting Brentz when a left-hander takes the mound. It actually is probably more productive — not that it matters — he gets the at-bats instead of Bradley Jr. or Nava. In conclusion, Boston should give Brentz his well-deserved at-bats the next few games; not just for him but to improve the organization as a whole.