His power is totally legit though, he hit 19 homers in the Carolina League which seriously suppresses power. Had a 157 wRC+ on the year and scouts agree he has amazing raw power. I don’t think average regular is his ceiling, and I also have heard that he has a plus arm.
Comment by Carlcrawfordisawesome — February 2, 2012 @ 5:29 pm
He’s bigger than Yaz, and the fences haven’t been moved out.
I have seen the plus arm comment on Sickels site, but neither myself, or the contact I spoke to saw his arm as more than average.
Yes, Brentz hit a lot of home runs, but it was essentially the varsity versus the JV for him as 22 is the same age most star level performers debut in MLB. Essentially, it’s important to not get carried away here.
Thank for this write-up. He’s definitely a guy Sox fans are over-hyping right now. One of the more well known Red Sox blogs has Xander Boegarts the 3rd best prospect right now behind Middlebrooks and Lavarnway which is ridiculous in my mind. Though this same site did vote Westmoreland onto the list prior to last season…
I don’t think he’s that overhyped. One person I might compare him to is Mike Napoli’s bat in RF. And when they were both in A+, Brentz muchput up better numbers, while being a year younger, and playing in a much tougher league than Napoli. They both have the crazy raw power and the 30 HRs in the minors.
Being league average age also takes into account the non-prospects playing out the string. Legit prospects are generally young for the level of play. in High-A, a 20-year old will spark quite a bit of interest. Show me a 22-year old at the level and it’s more of a shoulder shrug.
Brentz put up much better numbers? At 22, Napoli posted a .282/.393/.539 line while spending a full season in high-A while Brentz posted a .274/.336/.531 line in about half a season at the level. Napoli’s OPS was higher by nearly .075 which is significant.
Additionally, Napoli is a catcher who walks. Brentz is a RF who does not walk often. Napoli’s offensive numbers have always been greatly enhanced by his ability to draw a free pass. Even at .250, his OBP will be close to .350 based on his walk rates. For Brentz, his .250 would likely yield an OBP closer to .310.
The closer I look, the more I simply don’t see a statistical correlation there.
Sure… League average ages are misleading. You still have plenty of oldies hanging around to fill roster spots with no intention of making it much further… Still moderate competition, but not enough of the kind of competition that a guy like Brentz needs to face. Coming out of the NCAA, a guy like Berntz should do well, and no matter how well he does do, the first real test will be in Portland.
Your ability to put some perspective on tools and potential issues is great as I think many fans start getting way too caught up in the slash lines at low A and high A ball.
It seems like it’s pretty similar with pitching… a pitcher with great command and good but not great stuff can dominate the league and exploit the wide talent level, but get somewhat exposed when they jump to AA.
I think the strikeout rate is a major red flag and if that trend continues in AA, I think your analysis is spot on.
Great article Mike. I have just started taking some scouting courses and was a college SS albeit in D3 but I agree with your assessments especially when I watch the video. Looks like he moves his head a bit as well, especially on that breaking ball low and away.
As of now it seems he is a pure fastball hitter who lacks pitch recognition so I do hope to see some change in his approach and mechanics. I happen to live in Portland, Maine now so I may be able to send in some videos during the season if he gets the nod to AA, which I would expect he will for some portion of teh season if nothing else.
Great job. I’m surprised you could write that whole article without mentioning MLB.com’s top 100 prospects rankings. I remember sending you a tweet about that about a week ago. It is crazy to think that they would have Brentz (significantly) ahead of Bogaerts. Bogaerts is just so impressive.
Comment by outfieldallday — February 3, 2012 @ 2:41 am
Your comment about pitching is spot on. In general, college pitchers with somewhat average velocity who can spin a breaking ball a bit or have some semblance of a change tear up the lower levels. 22 vs. 19 really goes a long way in masking weaknesses which are exposed in a big way at the upper levels.
Thanks JB! Video is always a plus even though you’ll be cutting into my YouTube adsense pennies. =) As for the scouting, good luck with that too. In all honesty, if you find a way to go to the park 15-20 times and simply sit in the scout section, You will probably learn a ton. Make a friend or two and you can multiply that wealth of knowledge by 10.
Jonathan Mayo is a friend and I’ve always respected the way he pulled together his top-50 lists and suspect the top-100 was done the same way. When one speaks to a number of different baseball people and tallies the totals, perspective definitely plays a role. Fact of the matter is Brentz was a first round pick who hit 30 HR in his first full season. That’s going to carry weight, but if Mayo is receiving feedback from minor league managers and such, BA has pretty much proven through their organizational top-20’s that those guys don’t give a hoot about age-versus-level when it comes to this sort of thing.
A lot of the “plus arm” comments probably are a carryover from his pitching 100+ innings in college (and pretty capably so). So far in his minor league career he’s posted 17 assists, 8 double plays, and 21 errors (he tallied a whopping 17 errors in 108 games in 2011) in 170 or so games (152 in RF) which would translate from a purely numerical standpoint into his having slightly better than average arm strength without much accuracy. Reviewing his MILB boxscores showed that 7 of his seventeen 2011 errors were attributed to throwing, with the the other 10 chalked up to fielding. While he almost certainly has enough arm for RF, the rest of his defensive shortcomings probably will push him to LF (if not DH or 1B).
All that said, posting 30 HR is a pretty impressive feat, particularly in so much as he did it while missing about 20 games. I’d put him inside the Top 150 prospects, but probably not quite in the Top 100 range.
Comment by reillocity — February 3, 2012 @ 2:13 pm
“Beating up on inferior pitching, 30 home runs looks awfully impressive on paper, but loses much of it’s luster in context”
This sentence starts with a dangling participle (it’s Brentz and not the home runs that are facing inferior pitching), then gets the apostrophe wrong on “it’s” (no apostrophe for the possessive of pronouns).
Well, I read your very nice and detailed scouting report, remembered that he had been a pitcher (and perhaps even draftable as one at one point), then decided to look at his fielding stats to get a read on his throwing, then got blown away by the error total, then decided to kill an hour reviewing his box scores (just from 2011, mind you) to research the error types. I enjoy the scouting reports, so keep them coming.
Comment by reillocity — February 3, 2012 @ 6:31 pm
Thanks for the advice Mike. Good call on the scouting section. As was expected Brentz is in AA. Also looking forward to seeing Ranaudo and Pimentel this year. Ranaudo has reportedly been hitting 97 MPH on the gun, but I’m worried his arm can’t handle the load. Looks like they are still tweaking his mechanics for the sake of his labrum.
Are you still scouting the sally as well or just writing here for fangraphs?