October 17, 2014 at 7:30 AM
For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its end-of-season top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and looking at what's ahead for them in 2015. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.
#32: Bryce Brentz, OF
2014 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston Red Sox (Rehab: GCL Red Sox, Lowell Spinners)
Final Stats: 298 PA, .227/.326/.430, 12 HR, 12 2B, 3 3B, 65 K, 36 BB (minors)
26 PA, .308/.308/.385, 2 2B, 9K, 0 BB (majors)
Season in Review: Brentz came out of the gate showing improved patience, walking 20 times over his first 35 games with the PawSox, matching the number of walks he had in 82 games with Pawtucket in 2013. While he still was not making consistent contact, he did hit for power, with 14 extra-base hits, including six home runs, over his first 135 at-bats. On May 15, Brentz strained his hamstring, an injury originally putting him in day-to-day status, but lingered for long enough that he did not start a rehab assignment until over two months later. For the second year in a row, Brentz likely missed out on a major league call-up due to injury, as the Red Sox outfield thinned significantly during that period. He returned to Pawtucket on August 2, and he ended the season on a roll, batting .263/.349/.516 over his last 95 regular season at-bats. He continued to hit in the postseason, batting .263 with three doubles in eight games as he helped lead the PawSox to the Governors' Cup. After the PawSox playoff run finished, Brentz was promoted to Boston, and he played well in his first major league call-up, recording at least one hit in six of the eight games he appeared in. - Jim Crowell
Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Brentz just finished his fifth year in the organization, and will turn 26 this offseason. He features two plus carrying tools with his above-average raw power from the right side and above-average arm strength. The arm strength is complemented with accuracy, resulting in on-line throws with carry from the outfield. His range grades as fringe-average, as he gets decent reads off the bat and takes decent routes. His hit tool grades as below average, but Brentz makes up for it with plus raw power. Brentz is a pull hitter with a poor approach at the plate and poor pitch recognition—he is often first-pitch swinging regardless of pitch type, and will frequently chase breaking balls out of the zone. The swing can get a bit long, as he generates plus batspeed through the zone with an uphill swing path looking to hit the ball out of the ballpark. The hit tool and overall approach at the plate are what hold him back at this stage of his development, while the rare raw power, arm strength and accuracy could keep him in the game for a long time. Brentz is destined to start 2015 back with Pawtucket, as he has two options remaining and there is currently a crowded outfield situation at the major league level. Brentz will be either a trade chip or solid depth option to hold on to in 2015. - Chaz Fiorino
#31: Christopher Acosta, RHP
Yet to debut
Season in Review: Acosta was one of two elite arms the Red Sox signed when the international free agent signing period opened on July 2, along with Anderson Espinoza. Acosta received a $1.5 million signing bonus, the same amount the team gave to Rafael Devers a year before. Baseball America rated Acosta as the 11th-best international free agent, while MLB.com had him ranked sixth. He spent the year playing in the Dominican Prospect League while training under Alberto Faña, who was briefly a minor leaguer in the Phillies organization. While he did not pitch at all in the Dominican Summer League after signing, it is important to note that the Red Sox liked Acosta enough that they went over their allotted spending amount to sign both Acosta and Espinoza. Now, for the next two signing periods, the Red Sox cannot sign any amateur on the international market for over $300,000. This is even more significant since they will have one of the top bonus pools in 2015 after a down year in 2014. - Jim Crowell
Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Acosta reportedly is not quite as raw as you would expect a 16-year-old July 2 signee to be. Seen as the top pitching prospect in the Dominican Republic this signing period, Acosta shows an advanced feel for pitching and utilizes a three-pitch mix. He is lanky at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, and should add 20-30 pounds as he matures. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, and his mechanics could use some tightening up. His fastball sits in the low-90s already with good movement, and he throws his changeup—one of the best in the class—often and in any count. Acosta's third pitch is a curveball that could use some work, but he has shown confidence in as well. Acosta will spend 2015 in one of the two complex leagues, and recent history suggests it could be the DSL where he starts, with a chance to move up to the GCL if he shows that he is ready for that jump. (It would be appropriate to give a nod to the Baseball America and MLB.com scouting reports on Acosta here, as we obviously have no first-hand views of the young Dominican yet.) - Chris Hatfield
Additional editorial support provided by Jonathan Singer.