Bryce Brentz Finally Sees a Brighter Future

Pirates outfielder battling bad eyes & shoulder while trying to make team.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 22, 2018 - 2:45 pm
Bryce Brentz

93.7 the Fan

There is an old saying “you can’t hit what you don’t see” and that came to life for new Pirate Bryce Brentz.

The 29- year-old came over to the Pirates from Boston in mid-February with the potential to be the starting leftfielder.  Brentz hit 31 homers in Triple A last year and was ready to show the Pirates what he could do.

He pulled out the contacts he had been wearing the last two years.  He doesn’t wear them in the off-season.  And realized something wasn’t right.  Brentz had to wait until three weeks into camp to see the Pirates eye doctor and when he did, he was able to get new scripts, and see the baseball.

“You know I couldn’t pick up anything, and once we got the contacts in, it’s been good,” Brentz said.  “I haven’t really K’ed that much, been taking my walks.  You’re talking about millimeters up and down on that barrel and it’s a different story.”

“Now it’s just getting that feeling of you don’t have to rush.  You don’t have to overthink it, because you are seeing it.”

While Brentz feels better at the plate, the numbers don’t show it.  The righty is hitting .216 with just one homer as his only extra base hit.  This after the Tennessee native had a .529 slugging percentage last year with Pawtucket.

“It’s been good,” Brentz said.  “Just not in the way I know a lot of people outside, looking in, are going to look at it and say ‘no it hasn’t’.   Actually it has been.  It hasn’t been like I’ve felt blown away.  It’s just been some tough luck.”

Brentz says he’s hit into shifts, hit balls right at guys and just missed a couple. 

“Working on staying connected and working on the turn,” Brentz said of his improvements.  “Trying to show out a little too much or do a little too much.  You want to hit it 900 feet to show them 31 (homers) last year wasn’t a fluke.”

A decision is coming soon, likely between Brentz, Jose Osuna and Jordan Luplow for a final spot on the roster.  Brentz is out of options, which means he could go somewhere else if he’s not retained.

“Everybody in this clubhouse are great players and can affect a game in a positive way,” Brentz said.  “Whatever happens is going to happen.  We all wish we could come in here from day one and hit the lights out of it.  The guys have been swinging it well.  We are going to find out in a couple of days and we’ll just go from there.”

But this isn’t the end of the adversity for Brentz, four days ago while diving to make a catch against a former Red Sox teammate, Brentz hurt his shoulder.  He hasn’t played since.  He doesn’t believe this will land him on the disabled list to start the season.

“I’m trying to get in there as soon as possible, today we’re going to get in there for BP,” Brentz said.  “Try to get the go ahead and go from there.  A guy in my position, I have to get out there and play.  BP, cage that’s one thing, but the game is totally different.  Just getting back into that, is something that is going to be the tester, hopefully today, if not tomorrow.”

The days in Bradenton are dwindling.  If not today, there may not be a tomorrow.