Brentz adjusting to Triple-A ball after promotion

874663.jpg

Brentz adjusting to Triple-A ball after promotion

PAWTUCKET, R.I. The last week of August was a significant time for outfielder Bryce Brentz. At the beginning of the week he was named the Eastern League player of the week for the previous period. The Red Sox then announced that he would be among the organizations contingent to play in the Arizona Fall League. And he capped the week with a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, the first position player from the Sox 2010 draft class to make it to Triple-A.

Hes had a very good season, said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. Hes had some ups and downs, but hes shown the ability to make adjustments in trying to see what the league or what certain pitching staffs are doing to him, and make the adjustments from there and come back fighting. I think getting his feet wet in Triple-A should be a good experience for him for the last few games of the regular season and for however much exposure he gets in the playoffs. Obviously itll be great for him.

Its been a learning experience, really, Brentz said of this season. Each level provided a new bit of knowledge I got to learn. In Triple A Ive been pressing a little bit, trying to do a little too much maybe at the plate. But Im still seeing some different things I didnt see in Double-A. So its been good.

Brentz response to his promotion is not uncommon for young players. He went hitless in his first four games until Monday, Pawtuckets final regular season game, when he went 2-for-5. After hitting .296 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, a .355 on-base percentage, and .478 slugging percentage in 122 games with Double-A Portland, he hit just .118.167.118 in five regular season games for Pawtucket. But in Wednesdays Game 1 of the Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal series against the ScrantonWilkes-Barre Yankees, Brentz hit his first Triple-A home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning of the 7-4 win.

Bryce is a really good hitter," Crockett said. Just sometimes takes a little bit of time. He hasnt been up there very long. So I think any kind of ebb and flow in performance is common for hitters, and I think this is part of that. So hopefully hell continue on a little bit of a hot streak through the playoffs.

For Brentz , its all part of the process.

The biggest thing for me has been strike zone management, he said. I still try to do too much and then I dont command the strike zone, and thats just part of being human I think and trying to do more than what you need to be doing. But its also taught me some discipline, what I can do, what I cant. Being consistent.

Brentz, the Sox first-round pick (second by the Sox, 36th overall) in 2010 out of Middle Tennessee State is not the first highly prized prospect to struggle in his first brief taste of Triple-A. Last season, it was Will Middlebrooks who hit just .161 in 16 games for the PawSox before winning the starting third base job with the big league team this season.

PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler figures its just a matter of time before Brentz breaks out.

Its funny, the first game I thought this is going to be like Middlebrooks last year, Beyeler said. Hes a free-swinging kid with a ton of power. And hes had a big year. Hes been on base a lot. Hes probably a little wore out, a little tired. Going to another level theres high expectations. Guys are going to find his holes. Theyre going to exploit him a little bit. You got the veteran guys up here that all hes going to see slider, slider, changeup, slider, show him a fastball, back to the garbage, and hes going to have to make that adjustment. Its not going to come real quick, but hell be OK.

Will Middlebrooks went through that up here last year. Im kind of seeing the same kind of deal here, and it doesnt mean hes not going to perform up here. ..But its going to take some time for him to adjust. But, hell get it going. Thats back to what we talk about -- thats player development. Thats why theyre up here.

Bryce is a confident kid, and the adversity factor is good for these guys. Id rather have him do what hes doing here than do it when he goes up to the big leagues. So itll be a good development experience for him and hell get through it. But hes got a lot of ability. Hes going to be a fun kid.

Beyeler went through similar adjustments with another player another Bryce -- last season when he managed in in the Arizona Fall League.

It was that way with Harper, He said. It took Harper like a week to get a hit out in the
fall league. I just sat there and kept saying I just want to see him run into one of those from batting practice in a game one time. And he finally hit one and it just was really cool to watch. It was hard and it went a long ways. Thats kind of the way I look at Bryce Brentz swinging. Hes going to run into one one of these days and its going to go a long ways.

Brentz, who turns 24 in December, will head out to the fall league in October. With almost six additional weeks of games, it can make for a long season. But, hes looking forward to it.

Oh, yeah, I really am, he said. Its a big experience, a good experience, and just hoping to make the most of it.

And its one step more in the process, one step closer to where he wants to be playing the outfield in Boston.

Im hoping for some time next year. Thatd be really good. Thatd be really awesome, he said. But Im not going to try and play GM. I just take care of what I can take care of and all I can control. They have their own plans and hopefully I can fit in them.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

red_sox_david_price_082716.jpg

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”