Second Half of Boston’s “B” Team

The second half of Boston’s next great youth movement, is also the second half of the “B” team.  Besides Bogaerts and Bradley, there is Brentz and Barnes.

Bryce Brentz
Bryce Brentz

Bryce Brentz has a resume that makes me believe he has the chance to be a power hitter for Boston.  When he played at Middle Tennessee State as a sophomore in 2009, he led the nation in home runs (28), batting average (.438), and slugging (.930).

In 2010, I made a list of five players for the Red Sox to draft and at the top of my list was Bryce Brentz.  Two others, Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman, were also drafted by the Sox.  Boston was lucky that Brentz was still on the board at number 36, and thanks to the extra pick gained from letting Jason Bay leave town, the Red Sox were able to draft Bryce Brentz.

In 2011, his first full season with the Red Sox organization, he was named their Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, after a 30 home run, 94 RBI, and .306 average season for Salem.  He had a 25 game hitting streak, and outplayed the other Bryce, that being Harper, for the first few months.  He broke his hand, and lost time, but when healthy, Brentz proved to be the number one power hitter in the Red Sox system.

In 2012, he twice had five hits in a game while playing for Portland.  His average ended at .296 in AA, and he moved up to AAA for the last week of the year.

This is from the top 10 highlights of the 2012 Pawsox:

7. Bryce Brentz wows in playoff run

Bryce Brentz did anything but performed well in his first five games at Triple-A, batting .118/.167/.118/.284 after a 122-game Double-A Portland campaign in which he batted .296/.355/.478/.833. But once the playoffs game around, the former first round pick played at an exceptional level.

In seven games during the Governors’ Cup Playoffs, Brentz went 8-for-24 (.333) with five RBI, a double, triple and two home runs. It’s safe to say he adjusted well to Triple-A level.

In Spring Training in 2012, one of the things people noticed about Brentz was the sound of his bat meeting the ball,…. his sounded louder than most other hitters.

Brentz has a bright future and if he could follow the advice of former scout Bernie Pleskoff,….

“I have seen a slight hitch in his swing that impedes the speed with which the barrel of the bat clears the hitting zone. The hitch is slight, but it prohibits Brentz from getting a clean, quick extension, which robs him of bat speed and loft. When he’s going well, Brentz is a patient hitter, capable of quickly recognizing pitches. He knows the strike zone and looks for pitches he can drive. Like most power hitters, Brentz can feast on fastballs within the strike zone.”,

….Brentz has a chance to be the third part of the “B” team in Boston.

Matt Barnes, about to spin a breaking ball for UConn
Matt Barnes, about to spin a breaking ball for UConn

The fourth “B” down on the farm is pitcher Matt Barnes, a New England kid from Bethel, CT.  Barnes stayed in his home state and went to school at UConn.  In his junior year in college, he led the Huskies to the Super Regional final against eventual winner South Carolina.  Barnes was the second Husky selected in the first round (19th) of the 2011 draft as his teammate George Springer was selected earlier by Houston.

In 2012, Barnes started like he was going to match Roger Clemens‘ numbers when he was 21 in the Red Sox system.  On June 14, I wrote this:

Back in 1983 I would get The Sporting News every week and count the strikeouts and walks of Roger Clemens.

At the end his numbers for the year were 95 and 12, and just like Searching for Bobby Fisher, I have been waiting for someone to match that.

Last night Matt Barnes struck out nine and walked one. He now stands at 95 and 12, right on the nose.

It took Roger 81 innings, and Barnes 72.2.
Roger had a WHIP of 0.80 and Barnes in 0.78.
Clemens had an ERA of 1.33, and Barnes is now 0.99

Clemens turned 21 that August, and Barnes will be 22 this Sunday.

After Barnes turned 22 he did not pitch the same way the rest of the year.  His ERA rose from 0.99 up to 2.86.  He ended up walking 29 and striking out 133 in 119.2 innings in his first year in professional baseball.

In 2013, Red Sox fans will be hoping we see the same pitcher that started off the first three months of last year. If so, he could be in Boston by August.

The Portland Sea Dogs will be in New Britain, CT to face the Rock Cats from April 11-14 this season.  I am sure that many fans will be hoping to see the best pitcher born in CT who also played at UConn (at least since Charles Nagy) come back and pitch in his home state, before moving up the ladder.

Barnes is currently ranked as the number two Red Sox prospect, and will soon be pitching in Boston.

About Rick Swanson 91 Articles
Rick Swanson has been an online feature writer for numerous websites since 2005. He was also a speaker at Boston SABR meetings from 2007-2009. Rick has created three statistics for baseball.... Reaction over Range: A new way to measure defense. Divide reaction time of any play, by the range distance. Umpire Strikezone Score: Take the total number of correct pitches called, divided by the total number of pitches called. Power Pitching: Add WHIP plus ERA and subtract the number of strikeouts per inning. Rick's current title is Consultant, Red Sox and Fenway Park History. In 2007, he was nominated for President of Red Sox Nation by Red Sox team president, Larry Lucchino. You can email Rick here: rickswanson AT cox DOT net

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.