By Jeff Louderback
It’s September 1, do you know where the “Killer B’s” are?
Evidently, the Red Sox have no plans to call up Xander Bogaerts, Bryce Brentz or Jackie Bradley.
This is no surprise. After all, the 23-year-old Brentz was just summoned to Triple-A Pawtucket as the PawSox attempt to secure the International League wild card in the final weekend of the regular season.
The 19-year-old Bogaerts, who is regarded as Boston’s top overall prospect, is still raking at Double-A Portland, where he was 2-for-4 with three RBI on Friday night and is batting .321 with five home runs, 17 RBI and a .966 OPS in 81 at-bats. He was promoted to the Sea Dogs after recording a .302 average, 15 home runs, 64 RBI and a .883 OPS in 384 at-bats at advanced Single-A Salem.
While the Orioles called up a similar top prospect in Manny Machado last month and the Rangers announced they have brought up 19-year-old Jurickson Profar for September, it appears that the Red Sox will wait to give Bogaerts his Major League debut.
Bogaerts has replaced 22-year-old defensive whiz Jose Iglesias as Boston’s shortstop of the future. While Iglesias is regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops to reach the majors since Omar Vizquel, he has no power and there are questions about how much he will hit in the bigs. Bogaerts is a defensively proficient shortstop who is projected as a middle of the order bat in the majors and a potential 30 home run guy.
The 22-year-old Bradley, a supplemental first rounder out of the University of South Carolina in 2011, has thrived in his first full season of professional baseball. He hit .359 with a 1.006 OPS in 234 at-bats at Salem and has a .273 average with six home runs, 29 RBI and a .816 OPS in 227 at-bats at Portland.
Bradley has been slowed by a sprained ankle, which might be why he was not called up to bolster the Pawtucket lineup for this weekend’s wild card push and the postseason, if the PawSox secure a spot.
Brentz, who projects as a right fielder in the majors because of a strong throwing arm, is the organization’s top overall prospect according to MLB.com. The right-handed hitter, who was Boston’s 2011 Minor League Co-Offensive Player of the Year with Ryan Lavarnway, batted .296 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI and a .833 OPS in 456 at-bats at Portland.
In 2013, Brentz will open the season at Pawtucket. It remains to be seen whether the Red Sox will challenge Bogaerts and Bradley with an assignment to Pawtucket after just a short time in Double-A or if the pair will start the year at Portland. Regardless, at some point next season, Boston’s version of the “Killer B’s” will be a short drive from Fenway at Pawtucket, giving the Red Sox three premium prospects who could make their Major League debuts.