Boston Red Sox outfield prospect Bryce Brentz, who missed the first month of spring training after suffering a bizarre injury, is healthy and hoping to get his shot at the majors.
Brentz ended whatever slim chance he may have had of making the major league team out of spring training when he accidentally shot himself in the leg when cleaning a handgun at his home on January 17, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
WEEI’s Alex Speier reported that with only a little over two weeks to go before the regular season starts, Brentz finally saw his first action of the spring, playing in a Triple-A game on Wednesday.
At the time of his injury, the 24-year-old 2010 first-round draft pick indicated he didn’t need time to recuperate, explaining, “It’s a minor setback, really. I plan on being in camp…ready to go.”
It was assumed that he was going to be invited to his first big league spring training camp after his participation with 10 other highly regarded young players in the 2013 Red Sox Rookie Program. That opportunity never came after the shooting incident.
Brentz’s absence from camp may have had as much to do with his recovery as it did with the team being unhappy about his carelessness.
Boston general manager Ben Cherington was rather cryptic when explaining to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes why the youngster wouldn’t be part of big league spring training:
I guess you could say he got lucky relative to what happened. I think he understands he got lucky. It's a serious thing, and he has to be careful. He's here in Fort Myers and he's recovering and it's not going to get in the way of his future, but he won't be in big league camp.
Brentz is considered perhaps the best power-hitting prospect in the Red Sox’s system. During his three professional seasons, he has hit a combined .276 with 52 home runs and 209 RBI.
His best season came in 2011, when he hit .306 with 30 home runs and 94 RBI in 115 games between Single-A and High Single-A.
Last season, Brentz split his time between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting a combined .290 with 17 home runs and 76 RBI in 127 games.
Brentz’s power is considered his primary skill. But, he also has a lot of holes in his swing, resulting in high strikeout numbers, and he is considered a subpar defender in the outfield.
SoxProspects.com projects Brentz will start the 2013 season as Triple-A Pawtucket’s right fielder.
Although there isn’t room for him as things stand with the currently anticipated Boston roster, a hot start to his season could lead to his major league debut at some point this season.
Brentz escaped much more potential serious consequences from his gun mishap. Now that he is playing once again, he’ll try to get his career back on track and defined by his performance on the field instead of his actions off it.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference