|Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Bryce Brentz ‘can impact the middle of the lineup,’ Alex Wilson finds his groove, Steven Wright wobbles to win||09.12.12 at 10:39 am ET|
The PawSox have played just five postseason games, and so it is dangerous to draw any conclusions from watching just five games. Nonetheless, despite the necessary disclaimers about small samples, it has been hard not to be impressed by what Bryce Brentz has been doing.
In those five games, Brentz — the 23-year-old who was promoted from Double-A Portland just a couple of weeks ago — has three doubles, two homers and a triple, having delivered at least one extra-base hit in each of the five playoff contests to date. On Tuesday, as the PawSox claimed a Game 1 victory over the Charlotte Knights in the best-of-five Governor’s Cup Finals, he went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and walk.
After he went hitless in his first four games with the PawSox, Brentz went 2-for-5 on the last day of the regular season. Since then, he has stepped to the plate 19 times in the playoffs. His postseason line: .471/.526/1.118/1.644.
“Kind of reminded me of [Will] Middlebrooks last year when he first got here: tools off the charts, and it’s just fun to watch him play. He didn’t have a lot of success early for a few days, and now he’s starting to feel comfortable here and he’s starting to produce a little bit,” said Beyeler. “He’s fun to watch. He can do a lot of things. The ball comes off his bat very easy and very loud. He can drive the baseball. It’s a really live bat. He’s played solid in the outfield. He can throw the ball, he moves around well. Fun guy to watch play. It’s going to be fun to watch him develop, see what happens, because he’s definitely a guy that can impact the middle of the lineup with his bat.”
On Tuesday, Brentz doubled to left and tripled to right, further evidence of an approach that allows him to impact the ball to all fields.
“He can drive the ball out to any part of the field. Once you hit it 410 or 420, you don’t have to hit it any further than that,” said Beyeler. “He’s got good wrists and he’s a strong kid. … The ball comes off the bat with the same velocity, the same trajectory, that same two-iron look to it [as Middlebrooks].”
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-2 WIN VS. CHARLOTTE (WHITE SOX), LEAD BEST-OF-FIVE GOVERNOR’S CUP FINALS, 1-0
– Alex Wilson has now retired all 12 batters he’s faced in three playoff appearances. He had one strikeout in a perfect eighth inning on Tuesday.
Wilson will have to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster this offseason in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. He’s well aware of the fact, and of the possibility that — since the Sox will have to find a 40-man roster spot for him in the winter, his first big league call-up could come at the conclusion of Pawtucket’s season.
“This year is a big year for me: Rule 5 eligible. I came into the season working to expect a call-up at some point. That hasn’t happened yet, but there’s still a little time left,” said Wilson. “My goal right now is to pitch well enough to get up there.”
That said, Wilson also learned from a previous point in the season where he hit the fast-forward button and started wondering when his time in the majors might arrive.
“I fell into that trap a little bit. I had a lot of people telling me a lot of different things. It was hard not to [think about when a call-up might come],” said Wilson. “There was about a two-week stretch when I hit a little bump in the road. That’s when I figured, alright, quit listening to everything you’re hearing. I had friends at home, family at home calling me and saying, ‘Hey, hey, when are you going here? When are you doing this?’ I just had to shut all that down and focus on the here and now.”
Here’s Wilson’s strikeout:
– Knuckleballer Steven Wright earned his first win in five starts in Pawtucket, logging seven innings and allowing two runs while striking out six and walking two. The seven innings were his most in Triple-A. In five starts with the PawSox, Wright — acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline for Lars Anderson — has a 3.00 ERA with 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 27 innings.
Wright, who turned 28 on Aug. 30, plans to go to the Dominican to pitch for approximately a month following the season.
– Juan Carlos Linares has been nearly as outstanding as Brentz in the early-going of the postseason. The outfielder, who turned 28 last week, went 2-for-4 with his second homer of the playoffs. In five games, he’s hitting .438/.550/.938/1.488 with two homers, a triple and four walks in 20 plate appearances. The performance is all the more impressive given that he’d suffered a minor fracture in the tip of his thumb that kept him out for most of the last two weeks of the regular season. Linares played in just the final two regular season games before the postseason.
Linares pulverized an offering from side-arming right-hander Ryan Kussmaul. Here’s the evidence of the crime:
– Josh Fields, who missed the first round playoff series due to groin tightness, returned to the mound with a scoreless ninth inning on Tuesday, striking out two and walking one. He now has 11 straight scoreless appearances since his promotion to Triple-A in August. Overall, he has 80 strikeouts and 19 walks in 59 1/3 minor league innings this year, between Double-A and Triple-A.
– Third baseman Danny Valencia went 1-for-2 with a walk and a two-run homer, his second roundtripper in as many games. He is hitting .176 (3-for-17) in the postseason.
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