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.

Bryce Brentz Making Big League Impressions

bryce brentzIn the 2010 MLB Draft, Boston hoped to score big when they took a top power prospect in the draft — Bryce Brentz. Brentz has since risen through the ranks of Minor League Baseball and recently made it to the big league level.

On Wednesday September 17, Brentz made his MLB debut as a pinch hitter. He ripped a double down the right field line in his only at-bat of the day.
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“It’s a dream come true,” Brentz said as he spoke to reporters after the game. “I think every player [who] comes up always wants to get their first [hit] out of the way. I was more than happy to do that.”

Brentz also made his first big league start on Sunday. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

As a player, Brentz has solid plate discipline and hits with an abundance of power. It is clear though, the right-handed Tennessee native excels against lefties.
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Hitting .288/.354/.685 in 73 at-bats against southpaws this year in Pawtucket, Brentz clubbed eight homeruns and 12 extra base hits in all out of 21 total hits. That may seem like a small sample size, but his .630 slugging percentage off lefties in 2012 acts as further support, especially when he smacked 11 homers in 119 at-bats.

Yes, his two hits this year are off lefties, so it is no wonder how he got them. Brentz is 2-for-3 in his big league career off southpaws, and 0-for-3 off northpaws.

A linebacker in high school, Bryce Brentz may be the exact opposite of the Red Sox last dirt dog outfielder who played high school football — Trot Nixon. This is because, although Nixon crushed right-handed pitching, he was helpless against lefties.

More realistically, Brentz may be the second coming of Jonny Gomes. Eight years younger while commanding one-tenth the cost of Gomes, Brentz may be the perfect replacement for the void trading Jonny Gomes left on the Boston Red Sox.
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The Red Sox could use some assistance when it comes to hitting lefties. Daniel Nava is hitting .164 off southpaws this year and Yoenis Cespedes is not much better sporting a dismal .200 average.

As a rare specimen who has hit 35+ home run power in the Minor Leagues, Brentz could potentially serve as a platoon player as early as next season.

Before the 2012 season, Brentz was rated the No. 64 best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com.

Could Alex Hassan Platoon In 2015?

alex hassanIt is rare for such a late pick like Alex Hassan to pay off (20th round pick in 2009), but Hassan might be one of those rare cases. A local product who was actually drafted as a pitcher out of Duke, Boston decided it was better for him to play the outfield based off of a strong performance in the Cape Cod League.
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On Friday September 12, the Paw Sox played a long game and finally won after 13 innings. Most players in the starting lineup registered six or even seven at-bats — Alex Hassan had none. Coming out of the game in the ninth, Hassan was 0-for-0 drawing four walks before he was replaced by a pinch runner — Derrik Gibson.

Despite going just 1-for-7 in a pair of big league games while striking out five times, it still managed to be a turning point in Hassan’s career.
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Known for his plate discipline, the 26-year-old Milton native and BC High graduate has a BB/K ratio of 0.68 not including the playoffs while hitting .328 in 256 at-bats since being sent back down to the Minors after his stint in Boston. Before that, Hassan was hitting just .217 in 152 at-bats for the Paw Sox.

Still though, on the year, Hassan owns an impressive slash line against southpaws of .333/.418/.508 in 120 at-bats with an almost unheard of .927 OPS which includes the dreary months of April and May. Since June, his numbers would be even better, but it goes to show no matter what he mashes lefties.

Hassan would compliment Daniel Nava who struggles against lefties perfectly. Nava who is hitting just .158/.200/.193 with a dreary .393 OPS off southpaws in 57 at-bats this year would be better off if he faced zero lefties in a season. His .289/.371/.384 slash line versus righties however is a different story.
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With Jonny Gomes out of the picture, Alex Hassan has a great opportunity to make the 2015 Red Sox roster as a platoon outfielder. The only drawback here is that Hassan lacks power (eight homeruns in 408 at-bats), but he does get on base (.378 OBP) and gets on base a lot.

His closest competition for the job is fellow Paw Sox teammate Bryce Brentz who is a completely breed of player. He owns an unreal 1.039 OPS off southpaws in 73 at-bats this year. Still though, either way the Red Sox make get a platoon player for $0.5 million, one-tenth of what veteran slugger Jonny Gomes makes a year making it the ultimate win-win situation for Boston.

Alex Hassan: Next Red Sox Platoon Player?

alex hassanWhen the Boston Red Sox called up outfielder Alex Hassan from Pawtucket, he was hitting just .217 with a respectable .316 OBP. After recording a hit in two games totaling seven at-bats, Boston sent him back down to Rhode Island. Since getting the boot, Hassan looks hungry for another taste of the show. Raising his average up to .280 and OBP up to an impressive .372, Hassan is a legitimate call-up option for the Red Sox.
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As of late, Hassan is what the Spanish like to call “en fuego” (literally meaning “on fire”). Over his past 29 games, Hassan is hitting .367 and .415 in his last ten. Perhaps the most intriguing part of his game is his splits. Like Johnny Gomes, Alex Hassan is a lefty killer. In 85 at-bats against southpaws, Hassan is hitting .341 with a .418 OBP while clipping a pair of homeruns. Compare this to a .250 average and a ,350 OBP against 75% of pitchers who throw with their right hand.
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Although the .250 average is not great against righties, it is definitely a valuable asset to have someone who can clobber lefties on a big league club. With this being said, perhaps he could make a nice platoon partner for Daniel Nava in 2015 while occasionally playing first base. Of course the Red Sox outfield is already set for the 2015 season, but things could change, potentially giving Hassan a shot next year. Alex Hassan is not the veteran with a well-known beard that Jonny Gomes is, but he is a talented player nonetheless.
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Every good team needs at least one bat off the bench who can tear the cover off the ball when there is a lefty on the mound, and Boston is no exception. Assuming Jonny Gomes is either dealt this month or not re-signed, Boston will need another one. Alex Hassan,  who is already on the 40-man roster, is the perfect man for the job and would earn the league minimum, giving Boston more money to work with. Instead of paying an established veteran $5 million a year, why not pay Hassan $0.5 million to do the same thing?

Jonny Gomes: Lefty Killer?

gomesThis year, on paper, Boston Red Sox outfield Jonny Gomes is not having a great year. The higlight of his season in the eyes of many was wearing an American Flag blazer to the whitehouse when the team met with president Obama. He is hitting .232 in 59 games with a .333 OBP and five homers. In a weak outfield, it looks like his job on the team might not be safe.
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Take a second look at Jonny Gomes, and he is more valuable. In an equal amount of at-bats between lefties and righties, Gomes is hitting just .159 of righties with a mere .245 OBP and a .305 average with a .416 OBP off of lefties. Having a lefty specialist on the Red Sox will definitely help them in the long run as Gomes should be able to compliment their starters if they have every day guys who can hit a baseball.

Since Gomes has an equal number of at-bats against both lefties and righties, manager John Farrell is making a mistake. There is no reason why Gomes should be facing righties unless Boston is in dire need of a player. This way, Gomes can stay on the bench as a possible pinch hitter for games he does not start in. He came up clutch a number of times in 2013, so it seems likely that he can come up big again for the team sometime soon.
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On a Red Sox team that will need to do some serious roster crunching soon, Jonny Gomes should be safe. He owns one of the highest averages on the team against lefties. Also, he gets on base at a reasonable clip (.333) and provides the team with a solid power bat off the bench. His trade value is not spectacularly high, but if it is then they should consider trading him; he is a luxury they can live without.

Overall, Jonny Gomes is a valuable player to the Boston Red Sox, the one catch is he has to be used right. When put into a situation which does not work for him, he will not do anything. When Gomes is comfortable and the splits are in his favor, he instantly transforms into one of the best players in the league.

Platoon Players on Red Sox Roster

platoon players

Courtesy of ttp2.dslyecsi.com

“Platoon, isn’t that a movie, or has something to do with military structure?” I asked myself. I thought I knew most everything there is to know about baseball, but then I took this job. I learn something new every single day. People tell me that no one loves to learn more than I do, so I suppose I am living my mission.

Platooning, or platoon players, is the latest discovery I made.  The use of the term platoon in baseball, as defined at baseball-reference.com, is “when two players share a position.” This can occur both offensively and defensively. For instance, one player may be strong against left-handed pitchers and another against right-handed pitchers.  Jonny Gomes is an example of a platoon player for the Red Sox. Gomes makes lots of money in this role, a whopping $10 million to be exact, because statistics show he has a strong bat against left-handed pitchers. Gomes enjoyed a consistent on base percentage this Spring Training with an average of .316. Defensively, he can play both left and right field and switch off with, let’s say, Daniel Nava, or Shane Victorino. Offensively, there are plenty of players on the roster that can complement him against right-handed pitchers. Long story, short, we pay him lots of money because of his versatility. We hope it pays off. As New England fans, we hope for a lot of things like for it to stop snowing at the end of March.

platoon players

Courtesy of boston.com

In most of my posts, I emphasize the need for this team to play as one cohesive unit, and not individuals who happen to be wearing the same shirts. This platooning idea speaks directly to the team philosophy. Plus, it provides depth in key positions on the field and in the batter’s box. Gomes is one good example, and there are others on the team like Mike Napoli, who could play first base, catch, or DH.

Now, my earlier post on the depth chart starts to make more sense to me. I get why certain players are mentioned in more than one position.

As one famous dude once said, “Eureka!”