Red Sox Spring Training Notes

RED SOX SPRING TRAINING

With Opening Day less than a month away and the home opener a couple of weeks after that, the Boston Red Sox are gearing up for the regular season with Spring Training. So far, the team has only played a handful of games, so few conclusions can be drawn from the sample size. Despite such a small sample size, here are a few notes from Grapefruit League action so far this year.
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Second base prospect Sean Coyle has made a few appearances at third base for the Red Sox this Spring. Previously, Coyle experimented with the position with the Portland Sea red soxDogs last year while top Mookie Betts held down Coyle’s natural position.

Last year, Coyle struggled at the position, booting six balls in 18 games— but it is clear that the team wants to add to his versatility so that they can get his bat in their lineup sometime down the road. That same year, he hit .295 with a .371 on-base percentage and 40 extra base hits (including 16 home runs) in 97 games for the Red Sox AA affiliate.
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Manager John Farrell stated that he has been impressed by right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes from what he has seen during Red Sox spring training. Topping out at 97 MPH in relief, he could be a dark horse candidate for a relief spot this season. So far he has made just one appearance this year and he tossed a pair of scoreless frames while punching out three.

When the Red Sox scrimmaged the Northeastern Huskies last Tuesday, it was Huskies pitcher Aaron Civale that shined the brightest of any player at JetBlue Park. The reliever threw two scoreless frames, facing quite possibly the toughest part of the Red Sox lineup. Striking out David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts, he had a game he will not forget anytime soon.
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Desperate for a spot on the Red Sox, switch-hitting outfielder Daniel Nava is only hitting from the left side of the plate now and is taking extra reps at first base which he has only played occasionally these past two seasons. He will do whatever it takes to keep his spot on this Red Sox team and looks to make the team over former Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig.

What About Bryce Brentz?

BRYCE BRENTZ

Going 9-for-25 in Spring Training and 8-for-26 in the big leagues last year as a September call-up, Bryce Brentz showed plenty of promise while he was up with the Boston Red Sox in 2014, but will be given little opportunity this season.
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Slated to start off 2015 in AAA Pawtucket, Brentz likely will not be given much of a shot to crack a spot on the Red Sox Opening Day Roster because the outfield is so crowded as it is. As of now, the team already needs to trade an outfielder before Opening Day (most likely Allen Craig) and send their starting center fielder for the bulk of last season down tobryce brentz the Minors (Jackie Bradley Jr.).

Away from all of the competition, Brentz will be able to prove why he deserves to play in the big leagues— if he is able to stay healthy this season. These past two years, he has been limited to just 145 Minor League games, including rehab, but he has shown off excellent power.
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Power is the reason why the Red Sox drafted Brentz in the first place and, given that he has smacked 29 home runs in his last 145 MiLB contests, his power is still a serious threat and could help the Red Sox out down the road this season.

Against lefties is where Bryce Brentz thrives. The former high school football linebacker dominates lefties and blasted eight home runs in 73 at-bats against southpaws for the Paw Sox last season. Historically speaking, he has always hit significantly better off of lefties, making him a viable option as a platoon player. After all, he did collect four hits in seven at-bats off of lefties in the big leagues last season.
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If Brentz is able to show off his power and stay healthy in a full season not only should he be able to blast 30 home runs for the Paw Sox next season, but he should find himself in consideration for a job as a platoon player. Since Boston is filled with talented outfielders, if he is not given a shot in Boston, there would be other teams interested in his services.

Had the Red Sox not signed Hanley Ramirez, his chances of cracking the roster would be better since Daniel Nava, who would have been the starting outfielder, struggles greatly against southpaws— he has hit just .159 off them last year.