Rob Neyer on Brennan Boesch

boesch headshot.jpgESPN.com’s Rob Neyer fields this question today on his SweetSpot blog: “Can [Brennan] Boesch be considered a real long-term threat, comparable to [Braves rookie Jason] Heyward?”:

Here’s how Rob sees it:

… [I]n almost every way they’re not particularly comparable. Boesch is not a particularly good left fielder; by most accounts Heyward is a fine right fielder (or will be). Boesch was an afterthought this spring, and didn’t join the big club until a few weeks into the season; Heyward was one of the biggest stories in spring training.

Which gets at the biggest point of comparison … Boesch is four years older than Heyward, which makes a monumental difference when rating two players’ long-term prospects.

So let’s forget about Heyward, and answer the interesting question: Is Brennan Boesch anywhere near this good, really? Historically, Boesch has never been much of a prospect, advancing one level every season despite generally unimpressive numbers. Last year in Double-A, he slugged .510 but also posted a .318 on-base percentage. There’s simply nothing in Boesch’s statistical record suggesting that he’s good enough to play everyday in the majors. Let alone rank among the league leaders for an entire season.

Which doesn’t mean he won’t. Human beings have this odd way of surprising us. It’s just not the smart way to bet.

Discuss.

11 Comments

  1. Rob’s comments make sense to me. Boesch has been a very pleasant surprise, but a return to Earth is likely in his future.

    Ride out the hot streak this year, then trade him in the offseason while his value is high. Something similar to Matt Joyce.

  2. 1. Joyce is tearing up AAA for the Rays and looks to be called up very soon.

    2. The Majors are littered with guys who weren’t all that highly thought of when drafted or in the minors and likewise the Road to the Show has plenty of Grade A prospects left for roadkill.

    As was said, the power should stay, and I won’t deny that he can’t keep up the average, but he has shown in extended time that there isn’t any one thing pitchers can do to get him out and that means he should stick in the big league just fine whether he’s hitting .350 or .280

  3. Boesch may never be a mega star, but i do NOT see him falling down as some temporary fluke either. And the reason i think he won’t let that happen is just watching him every day, seeing his face light up with the praise of being a bigtime big league hitter making 40k fans go gaga and fist-bumping with big Miguel. THAT is bigtime positive reinforcement, and it will make him continue to work hard to stay in the bigs and keep that ‘high’ going. Sure stastically he probably WILL be a semi-fluke or burn out in a few years or have his avg suddenly drop to .200. BUT, i got a feeling he’s gonna buck the trend and be a big bopper for the Tigers for a long time.

  4. Well isn’t Rob Neyer just full of, ahem, level-headed realism. What he says is true, but I sure hope Boesch defies the scouting report.

  5. I think Boesch will continue to surprise people as long as he hits in the 5th or 6th hole and their are runners on base. His eye is improving, as evidenced by walk last night. However, Heyward is a 3 or 4 type career hitter, Boesch is a true clean up hitter, with the rare power to get hits off bad swings.

  6. Rob Neyer said Boesch is a below-average outfielder…but did you see his diving catch in the 6th against the Nationals on Thursday? Give him time to improve defensively. I think he can develop into a decent outfielder.

  7. I’ve never really cared what Rob Neyer thought about anything. I don’t see why I should start now.

  8. It is a commonplace in baseball to say that power pitchers need several years in the minor leagues to “get it” but the combination of hitting with power and for average is seen as a gift that either you have or you don’t. Boesch probably won’t be a .340 hitter but he is not coming out of nowhere. He was a High School All American and hit .355 with power at Cal Berkeley before signing (he was a preseason All American if he had returned to Cal). The Cal website says “a talented left-hander who can hit for both power and average.” Boesch led the NY-Penn League in RBIs and hit .294 his first year in the minor leagues (not bad for the Tiger’s 16th rated prospect). He has always been underrated but he has hit for both power and average before.

  9. This is what gets me about lazy NY and East Coast writers. Rob Neyer is in the wrong profession. Neyer probably spends all his time watching every Yankee, Met and Red Sox scrub
    player and “has no time” to scout Boesch and other players west of the Hudson River.

    WHY WRITE A COLUMN ABOUT A PLAYER THAT YOU ARE TOO LAZY OR UNCONCERNED WITH AND THEN CALL YOURSELF AN EXPERT ON BASEBALL WHEN YOU HAVE NOT EVEN SEEN THE BALLPLAYER PLAY??!!

    ARE YOU A COMPLETE MORON ROB NEYER?!

    Scouts all over baseball say Boesch is the real deal. Boesch was rated as one of the top 25 baseball prospects in the USA by Baseball America as a junior in HS. Boesch won awards as a Pac 10 player at Cal. Boesch has hit, fielded well and won awards throughout his minor league career.

    It is unprepared writers like Neyer that screw up the All Star voting and are responsible for many undeserving players being elected to the All Star teams yearly because the fans rely on these unprepared, unprofessional writers to
    DO THEIR JOBS AND KNOW THE PLAYERS AND SHARE THAT INFO WITH THE FANS SO FANS CAN VOTE WITH SOME ACCURACY AND KNOWLEDGE.

    If you don’t know about a player, then
    don’t just “wing it” and make stuff up
    that “real knowledgeable fans” know to be
    total BS.

  10. I can give you a list of players
    that the so called “self annointed experts”
    stated would never be major leaguers
    and never have any kind of impact even if they made the major leagues.

    That list would include Mike Piazza
    whom his godfather, Tom Lasorda, had to
    beg his team (Dodger)to draft and give him a chance when no major league team even had any interest in drafting Piazza.

  11. You want a statistical record: season stats show Boesch over Heyward, even though Boesch has 30 fewer AB :

    Hits 78/64
    Doubles 16/13
    HR 12/11
    RBI 47/45
    BA .341/.251
    OPS .988/.821

    SB 2/5, guess Heyward is faster, (but Boesch hasn’t been caught stealing yet, 2-2 vs 5-9.

    Bottom line is not how you’re hyped but what you do (just ask Chris Pittaro). So far Boesch has done more.

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