Every organization has at least one player that is likely ready for the major leagues in their system, but has no place to put them. It’s not always the case that the team wants to play the youngsters either. In the case of an organization like the Philadelphia Phillies for example, Domonic Brown has been waiting for a chance to have a full time starting job in the majors for a few years now. Chances are he’ll continue to wait going into 2013, because the Phillies are in win-now mode, and are likely to acquire another outfielder before the season begins.
Such is the case with most of the AL East as the 2013 season approaches. An argument could easily be made for all 5 teams having a chance to contend, and with that in mind each team wants to sport the best lineup possible for the immediate future. Unfortunately for some young players looking for a shot in the Majors, that translates into having patience, and waiting for your opportunity.
In this series, I’m taking a look at a player in each AL East organization that may deserve a shot in the show in 2013, but may only get it after injuries or a possible trade occur.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are currently in a bit of roster limbo, at least until the offseason is complete. They have made some moves, signing Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Jonny Gomes to add to the group of holdovers from 2012. In particular, GM Ben Cherington is still rumored to be potentially looking for starting pitching, and possibly another outfielder. Currently they’re looking at a Jacoby Ellsbury/Victorino/Gomes outfield, but may still add a platoon partner for Gomes.
With the Red Sox wanting to get back to contention sooner than later, that leaves a few outfielders waiting for an opportunity in the organization, and none may be more ready for a look than Bryce Brentz.
The 24 year old was drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 Amateur draft by the Red Sox, and has already impressed in the organization. In his first full season in 2011, he split time between A ball, and High A, and Brentz raked to the tune of .306/.365/.574 with 30 HR’s, and 94 RBI’s in 507 plate appearances. He was promoted twice in 2012 spending most of his season in AA, but finishing the year in AAA Pawtucket and producing a .290/.349/.465 line, with 17 HR’s, and 76 RBI.
Brentz also profiles as a solid defensive outfielder, with a plus arm as a former pitcher. He has bounced between all 3 outfield positions in the minors, but most likely profiles as a RF candidate whenever he arrives in the majors. When he may arrive is anyone’s guess at this point.
Ben Cherington has been busy spending some of the budget he freed up, and in the process has committed to Gomes for the next two years, and Victorino for three campaigns. It is still possible Ellsbury starts the season in another uniform, and may be gone by 2014, but it is unlikely the Red Sox are looking to rebuild, and going with Brentz at this time just may not be an option in the minds of hungry Red Sox fans, and upper management.
This offseason has shown us that teams aren’t afraid to pull the trigger on trades, so it is possible Brentz could be a trade piece, or provide Boston with organizational depth until he’s banging the doors down at Fenway.
He will absolutely benefit from having a full year in AAA in 2013, but he isn’t far away from being ready for the bigs, and it may be tough for him to find a home in Boston’s outfield.