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IL notes: Brentz still on the radar
Red Sox outfield prospect working on plate discipline
07/01/2013 6:01 AM ET
Bryce Brentz leads Pawtucket with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs.
Bryce Brentz leads Pawtucket with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs. (Kevin Littlefield/MiLB.com)

Because the Boston organization has so many high-level prospects, it's easy to overlook a player like Pawtucket outfielder Bryce Brentz.

Rest assured that the Red Sox haven't overlooked him.

"He may have flown under the radar for a lot of other teams, but for our organization, we know what we have with him," Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina said. "He's kind of a hidden gem.

"He's not on the 40-man roster, so there hasn't been a lot of hype about him."

Brentz has hit .270 with 15 homers and 51 RBIs in 70 games with the PawSox, and the 25-year-old outfielder said a late-season promotion to Pawtucket in 2012 has helped him adjust to Triple-A this year.

"I got a little taste of it late last year and got a little comfortable with it," he said. "That made the adjustment easier. But it's still tough because you have a lot of seasoned guys here who know how to pitch, how to locate pitches."

Brentz said he will never forget his first Triple-A at-bat.

"I saw six straight sliders," he recalled. "And that was with nobody on base in a 1-0 ballgame in the second inning. There was no 'situation.' You might see that sequence in Double-A in the eighth inning, with the tying run on base and a base open. Triple-A has older guys who will mix pitches up and make adjustments."

DiSarcina, in his first year as Pawtucket manager, said the power Brentz has shown keeps him on the prospect radar.

"He hits the ball a long way when he connects," DiSarcina said. "The thing we're trying to get him to do is to be steady -- cut down on the strikeouts and use the whole field. He's strong enough to hit the ball to right-center field.

"He can be all-or-nothing, but you don't want to take what has made him successful away from him."

While Brentz has a strong arm that may allow him to play right field in the Majors, his bat will determine whether he sticks in the big leagues.

"He's working on plate discipline," DiSarcina said. "He'll try to hit a home run with the first-pitch fastball. But he'll also try to hit a home run on the outside slider -- and ends up grounding out to third.

"With two strikes, he needs to use right-center and not worry about hitting the ball out of the park down the left-field line. He's strong enough to hit the ball out to right-center."

Brentz said he understands why he may be overlooked among the Red Sox's top prospects. He did miss big league camp after shooting himself in the leg with a handgun.

"People can rank prospects however they want to, I have no issue with that," he said. "My issue is coming to the field every day, getting my work in, playing hard and helping my team win. That's all I can do.

"There are a lot of things that go into ranking players: numbers, age, signing bonus. The only thing I can control is my play. So that doesn't bother me."

In brief

The "K" zone: Charlotte RHP Andre Rienzo tied a season high when he struck out seven batters on June 4 at Pawtucket. Believe it or not, that turned out to be his lowest strikeout total in June as he followed up with seven- , nine- and back-to-back eight-strikeout games. Last month, Rienzo fanned 39 over 31 1/3 innings, lifting his season total to 87 -- which rank second in the IL -- in 83 2/3 innings.

Sudden impact: OF Fernando Martinez joined Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-June and, after going 0-for-3 in his first game, has given the RailRiders a lift. He has at least one hit in nine of his first 11 games, batting .405 with three homers, 13 RBIs and seven runs scored in that span.

He said it: "[Pitching in the Major Leagues] is a confidence-booster. The start in Fenway did a lot for me. [It was] probably my best start in the big leagues so far. I knew it was going to be up and down [from Tampa Bay to Durham], so I just wanted to do my best. I was able to have a good outing and it has translated to down here." -- Bulls RHP Jake Odorizzi to the Durham Herald-Sun on June 29 after allowing a run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings against Columbus. Since returning to Durham from a short stint with the Rays, he's given up one run on seven hits with 13 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.

He said it, part II: "I'm excited to go out there and pitch every time. That's the attitude I take out there. You never know when will be your last time to take the mound, when you blow something out and you never pitch again. Tomorrow is never a guarantee for anybody in this game." -- Chiefs RHP Mike Broadway to the Syracuse Post-Standard. He's 1-1 with four saves and a 3.00 ERA in 12 appearances since joining the team in late May.

John Wagner is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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