Brentz and Riley Winter League Mashers of the Day

Myworld is going to try to recognize at least one player who performs well each day in the winter leagues. Today we have two. Austin Riley a prospect for the Braves and Bryce Brentz, a used to be prospect for the Red Sox. They both had tremendous hitting days in their teams rout of their opponents, Riley in the Arizona Fall League and Brentz in the Mexican League.

Austin Riley hit for the cycle in the Peoria Javelinas 19-4 win over the Mesa Solar Sox. The day started very innocently with a ground ball single up the middle in the second inning. It was the only hit of the inning and it ended with Mesa leading 2-0. With the score 4-0 going into the bottom of the third Peoria rallied for five runs to take the lead. Riley blasted a two run homer to give Peoria the lead.

In the fifth inning Riley strikes out. The game is still close 5-4. The sixth inning gives Riley a fourth at bat and he doubles to center to drive in his fourth run. Peoria erupts for seven runs and Riley is a triple short of the cycle. He gets another bat in the seventh inning and triples in two runs to complete the cycle and drive in five of the 19 Peoria runs. His final at bat is in the eighth inning when he reaches on a fielding error.

At 6′3″ Riley is a highly touted prospect in a very deep Braves minor league system. He hit 20 homeruns between High A and AA with a .275 batting average and 74 RBIs. His 124 whiffs in 129 games tells he has a propensity for the swing and miss. He is currently hitting .346 in the AFL with two homeruns in six games. A former pitcher, he has the arm to stick at third but his height combined with a heavy frame may force a shift to first.

Bryce Brentz used to be a top prospect with the Boston Red Sox. The rightfielder was noted for his strong right field arm and his power bat. That power bat was on display yesterday with his three homeruns in the Herosillo Naranjeros 17-4 win over the Culiacan Tomateros. So if my Spanish does not fail me the Oranges beat the Tomatoes.

Bryce began his power display in the first inning with a three run homer to fuel a five run opening frame. His solo shot in the third made it 6-0. He then led off the fifth with a homerun to give him three homeruns in three at bats. With plenty of at bats left in an early game a four to five homerun display was in the making.

In the sixth inning he had to settle for a single, but it drove in a run to give him his sixth RBI of the game. He flew out to left in the seventh inning in his last at bat to leave his homerun total at three.

Bryce is currently hitting .233 with four homeruns in the Mexican League. That follows his blueprint as a prospect, a low average hitter with lots of strikeouts to go along with his pop. He’ll turn 29 in December and he has six years playing for Pawtucket. Perhaps it is time the first round pick of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft find another team in need of an outfielder. He did hit a career high 31 homeruns last year at Pawtucket. Injuries have restricted him to less than 100 games from 2013 to 2016. In his two September callups to the major leagues (2014 and 2016) he has one homerun in close to 100 at bats. He has 127 homeruns in his eight year minor league career, 72 of those with Pawtucket.

Bryce was removed from the Red Sox 40 man roster just after spring training in 2017. This would make him a six year minor league free agent free to sign with any club.

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