Publish Date: 01/02/2019
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
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The Boston Red Sox don’t have much farm depth at the middle infield. That said, they do have 22-year old second baseman Brett Netzer. Netzer originally joined the Red Sox back in 2017 as the organizations’ third-round pick. Netzer spent the entirety of 2018 with the High-A Salem Red Sox and should start 2019 with the AA Portland Sea Dogs.
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Since first arriving in the Sox minor league system, Netzer has a career .275/.332/.354 slash line with an accompanying 98 wRC+. Basically, he’s been a league-average minor league hitter who climbed through the ranks at a solid pace.
Netzer made it all the way to Low-A Greenville during his truncated 2017 season before spending the entirety of 2018 with the Salem Red Sox. While he never dominated at any level, his rapid progression through the minor league ranks is highly encouraging and suggests his tools should continue to work at every level.
Netzer isn’t Dustin Pedroia with the glove by any means, but he has decent range and soft hands. His arm is good enough for a second baseman, but he doesn’t have the strength to ever play third or shortstop on a regular basis.
While he has a few tools to build around, Brett Netzer is far from a perfect prospect. For one, he has no power. Throughout his career, Netzer has just two home runs in 663 at-bats. While he gets doubles at a decent rate, his minimal power means he’ll need to be an on-base machine to stick in the majors.
Additionally, Netzer should work on his plate discipline. His strikeout rate is fine (21.5%), his walk rate could be improved. Currently, Netzer walks in just 7.4% of his at-bats. While this isn’t a bad rate, he should try to improve it since his future success is driven by how often he can get on base.
As previously mentioned, Netzer isn’t anything extraordinary in the field. He can play second adequately, but he’ll never be a Gold Glover. Additionally, he doesn’t have the arm to play on the left side of the infield nor the speed to be a decent corner outfielder. His soft hands would allow him to be slightly subpar at each of the aforementioned positions, but he’ll be limited to second base in non-emergency situations.
Even though he’s one of the top second basemen in the system, Brett Netzer is a lot more Brock Holt than Dustin Pedroia. He doesn’t have the power to be an everyday player, nor is his glove good enough to justify a subpar bat in the lineup.
That said, he is capable of making consistent contact and can on base at a decent clip. He’s not an active liability at second and his soft hands should make him a serviceable utility option at short and third. He’ll never earn a full-time job at either position, but he could fill in for a handful of games.
Don’t expect Netzer to ever be a 162-game starter, but he could make it to the majors as a utility depth piece. While those prospects aren’t the most exciting to talk about, they’re still necessary in the grand scheme of roster building. Outside of Tzu-Wei Lin, the Red Sox don’t have many utility infielders in the farm. Depending on how he does in AA Portland, Netzer could be around as soon as 2020 or 2021.
Red Sox Prospects Master List