The big news in prospectland today revolves around Boston Red Sox prospect Bryce Brentz, who shot himself in the leg while "cleaning his gun" according to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. Brentz' injury isn't severe as these things go....he's not dead....but he'll miss part of spring training while his leg heals.
First, here was my take on Brentz before this news.
Bryce Brentz, OF, Boston Red Sox
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 195 DOB: December 30, 1988
2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade B-
2012 was a reasonably successful for year for Bryce Brentz. He was a productive hitter in Double-A, posting a +15 percent OPS and a 129 wRC+, very solid though not spectacular numbers. He finished up with a strong showing in the International League playoffs, then went to the Arizona Fall League and hit .297/.366/.438 in 17 games. Brentz is vulnerable to breaking stuff and will have difficult patches where he strikes out a lot, but the ball jumps when he makes contact, projecting 20-25 homer power in the majors. He won't hit .295 in the majors though, not without more adjustments. He throws well and is a skilled right fielder. He needs some Triple-A time to work on pitch recognition, but I see him as a guy who can hold down a regular job as a power source, something like Ryan Ludwick. Grade B-.
That was my take in the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book anyway. I think we need to knock something off his grade for being stupid.
Now, listen. I know everyone is human, and God knows I'm not immune to making stupid mistakes.
But really? Shooting yourself while cleaning your gun? That's just extra-duty stupid. That's so stupid it deserves its own category.
Even the most avid NRA members (and I know a few) constantly emphasize ALWAYS, ALWAYS ASSUME THE GUN IS LOADED. Any time you pick up a gun, check to see if it is loaded, then check again. Then after you are sure it is empty, check it again.
I'm not an NRA member, but I do own a firearm, and there is just no excuse, no excuse at all for this "the gun went off when I was cleaning it" bullshit.
That just doesn't happen if you are following proper protocol, and if you aren't going to following proper protocol (trigger locks, gun safes, check it when you put it away, check it when you take it out, constant knowledge of the status of the weapon you are handling, etc.) you have no business with the damn thing. They aren't toys, they are deadly weapons.
This is NOT a gun control debate and I won't let it turn into one, but honestly this kind of dumbassery hacks me off a lot more than the "controversy" over performance-enhancing drugs. Recklessness with firearms. . .driving while drunk. . .those are the things we should be concerned about. Those are the things that get people killed.
Bryce Brentz is really damn lucky he didn't shoot his foot off, or kill himself, or kill some innocent bystander.