Reading, PA USA; Portland SeaDogs player Bryce Brentz (25) smiles after fouling off a pitch during the AA Eastern League All-Star game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Eastern Division defeated the Western Division, 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
The Arizona Fall League rosters have been announced, and the Boston Red Sox will be sending four of their own to continue their 2012 seasons after the regular schedule has concluded. The Surprise Saguaros will feature Red Sox outfielder Bryce Brentz along with pitchers Brock Huntzinger, Chris Martin, and Pete Ruiz.
Brentz is the major name in the bunch, as he was #51 on MLB.com's top 100 prospects list, ranked sixth on Kevin Goldstein's pre-season top 20, and currently ranks seventh at Sox Prospects for the Red Sox. The right fielder has had his share of ups and downs in 2012, but is currently hitting a very solid .296/.355/.478 with 17 homers and 48 extra-base hits in his first taste of Double-A. There are issues, but there's also been progress, and it helps that he has an arm that will keep him in right field.
As for the rest of the bunch, they haven't been covered in our prospect updates, because they are more on the periphery, the type of player you see the most often in the AFL. Huntzinger is 23 and at Portland for the second time. He cut into his horrific homer rates this time around, but lose some strikeouts in the process. Chris Martin is 26, and has split time between starting and relief with solid results at Double-A, but again: 26. Pete Ruiz is 24 and in High-A Salem, and while he's done well, he has the same kind of age issue that keeps excitement away from whatever Martin has done.
Brentz is the one to watch, as he's there for the same reasons that others like Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Lavarnway have been there for: to get a top prospect more at-bats or time in the field.
[Update 11:44 am] Teams are required to send seven players to the AFL, so this is just the first four announced. Alex Speier mentioned that Ryan Pressly, recently promoted to Double-A Portland and converted from starter to reliever, is the fifth of seven. We last looked in on Pressly on August 16; the reliever has thrown 24-2/3 innings for Portland, with twice as many strikeouts as walks, though his ground out rate has slipped since his promotion.