Baseball stoppage keeps Brenton Doyle on sidelines
SHEPHERDSTOWN — When last seen in the late summer of the 2019 season in Grand Junction, Colorado, one-time Shepherd outfielder Brenton Doyle was scalding hot and fast approaching the .400 mark with his bat.
But Grand Junction was eliminated from the Pioneer League playoffs, and Doyle’s first season of professional baseball saw him finish with a .383 batting average.
He had played three collegiate seasons at Shepherd after graduating from Kettle Run High in Warrenton, Va.
Following his junior year of eligibility, Doyle was eligible for the Major League Draft of free agents. He had been well-scouted by about six major league teams — something of an anomaly for an NCAA Division II player. There are so few quality pitchers at the Division II level that scouts had to evaluate Doyle’s physical tools and future prospects rather than his offensive statistics.
Doyle runs very well and is an accomplished fielder with an accurate throwing arm. Professional scouts had to make judgments as to how he would hit in the professional ranks.
Once he signed his professional contract in mid-June with the Colorado Rockies after being drafted in the fourth round of the 40-round draft, Doyle was sent to Grand
Junction, Colo. to begin his pay-for-play career. He signed for a bonus in excess of $500,000, meaning he was a valued investment whose every-day progress would be closely monitored.
Not long after joining Grand Junction, Doyle was hit in the head by a teammate’s line drive while being in his dugout. He didn’t have a broken jaw or any signs of a skull fracture, but would be sidelined for nearly three weeks. His batting average at the time of the freak accident was .328.
When he returned to the every-day lineup, Doyle began peppering the outfield gaps and fences with more power than he had shown earlier.
He had several four-hit games and in the season’s last week even went 5-for-5 in one game.
His final statistical line wasn’t much different than the eye-catching numbers he had shown while playing for Shepherd.
A .383 batting average, successful on 17 of 20 stolen base attempts. 42 runs scored, 33 RBIs, eight homers, 11 doubles, 110 total bases, 31 walks, 51 games played and 69 hits in 180 official at-bats.
Doyle was slated to go through spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick ball park. but professional baseball was shutdown by the coronavirus and no date to rejoin the preseason has been set.
Minor League players are currently being paid $400 a week because they are still under contract to their Major League team. They cannot file for unemployment during the shutdown.
When the go-ahead is signaled, and spring training resumes, Doyle will finally get to begin his second year of professional baseball with either the Asheville (North Carolina) Tourists or the Lancaster (California) JetHawks, both Class A affiliates of the Rockies.
The large bonus money Doyle was signed for last summer makes him one of the organization’s most-watched and most-valued players. His progress will be watched by the team’s scouts and front office executives alike. Players with that much bonus money in hand are given every opportunity to play their way into the major leagues.