Does Another Injury to Red Sox’s Ryan Kalish Mean Another Promotion for Bryce Brentz or Jackie Bradley?

At about 3 p.m. ET, video contributor Matthew Stucko — he specializes in interviews with prospects — broke some news on Twitter: “BREAKING| OF Ryan Kalish likely to miss more time with another surgery. Another setback for former @RedSox 2010 Team ROY@mlb @MinorLeagues”.

This was just confirmed by’s Rob Bradford. Kalish missing time again — his injury history is long and includes this 2011 leg ailment — could pave the way for an earlier-than-expected ascension of Boston’s top outfield prospects: Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz, currently ranked as the No. 3 and 4 farmhands in the system.

I’m of the opinion that Kalish missing time more directly affects Brentz. Bradley, a gifted defensive outfielder with a knack for getting on base, has yet to play above Double-A. He will more appropriately be a likely and plenty-capable replacement for current Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who will be a free agent following the 2013 season.

So back to Brentz: Coincidentally enough, Kalish was rehabbing with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs when Brentz had one of his five-hit games last season (and, yes, there was more than one). I wrote this story about the latter outfielder that day, May 31, and quoted Brentz as saying about Kalish, comparing his own aggressive approach at the plate to the more measured tact of his veteran peer: “This is just a pit stop for him, but it was a lot of fun watching his at-bats. When he swings, he’s not up there just to swing.”

So back to the question at hand: Does Kalish potentially being out during Spring Training — and perhaps longer — leave the door open for Brentz to crack his first big league roster? Well, I think it does at least turn the knob. Brentz, by the standard of many, is an MLB-ready hitter. He will strike out his fair share — his aggressiveness is his blessing and his curse in the batter’s box — but should have no problem producing to the extent of a Kalish or a Daniel Nava, another veteran he’d have to fend off for playing time in left field. That leads us to one complication: Newly-signed vet Johnny Gomes is standing in left field, and he is a right-handed hitter in need of a lefty to platoon with. Brentz is a righty, too.

So how does Brentz make Boston’s Opening Day roster? I think he’d be helped by a Kalish injury, sure, but I also think he needs to hit so well in Spring Training as to give the Sox pause about giving Gomes so many at-bats.

What do you think?


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