How a team uses its minor leaguers depends on a player’s promise and a team’s need.

In his 115 games in Triple-A, Rhys Hoskins hit 29 home runs. Promoted to the major leagues in August, the 24-year-old Hoskins has 13 homers in 29 games with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bryce Brentz hit 31 home runs in 120 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, including 27 homers in his last 90 games. Yet Brentz is done for the season after the Boston Red Sox apparently decided they don’t need him.

The reasons for Hoskins’ promotion are obvious. He’s a relatively young prospect, and the Phillies are a last-place team. Why not give him a shot?

Brentz, 28, is no longer considered a prospect. The Red Sox, despite their need for power, are in a pennant race and are opting for experience. Team President Dave Dombrowski told the Boston Globe that Brentz would not be added because there is no room on the 40-man roster.

Likewise, in less of a surprise, Jeremy Barfield, 29, won’t be added. Barfield was a minor league free agent when signed by the Red Sox in late May. He hit 37 home runs this year – nine in independent ball, 27 for the Portland Sea Dogs (in 92 games) and one in Pawtucket (in three games).

While it seems Boston could have figured out a way to use Brentz, the question now is if the Red Sox are done with both him and Barfield.

Both can be minor league free agents after the season. Boston could still put Brentz on the 40-man roster after the playoffs, when some players will likely leave, such as outfielder Rajai Davis and possibly Chris Young.

Barfield could be enticed to stay with a lucrative minor league deal and an invitation to major league spring training.

For a team that is last in home runs in the American League, can the Sox afford to let these two sluggers just walk?

Boston has other decisions to make with its Pawtucket roster.

Left-hander Jalen Beeks was the only Sea Dogs starter to reach Triple-A. Beeks, 24, had a 3.86 ERA for Pawtucket, with 97 strikeouts in 95 innings. He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if Boston doesn’t put him on its 40-man roster.

Right-hander Justin Haley, 26, was picked by the Twins in last year’s Rule 5 draft but eventually returned to the Red Sox. He had a 2.66 ERA in seven starts for Pawtucket. He’s Rule 5 eligible again, and Boston may gamble again by not placing him on the 40-man roster.

Right-handed reliever Kyle Martin, 26, was on the 40-man roster but never reached the majors. Martin was inconsistent all year (4.36 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), and right-handed batters hit .340 against him. He lost his spot on the 40-man roster Tuesday when Carson Smith was activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Chandler Shepherd, 24 (4.07 ERA, 1.29 WHIP in Pawtucket) and Ty Buttrey, 24 (3.72 ERA, 1.35 WHIP in Portland) are also eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Both show promise, and Buttrey has a high-90s fastball.

Buttrey will likely move to Triple-A next year if he stays in the organization, along with lefty reliever Bobby Poyner (0.94 ERA, 0.78 WHIP) and outfielder Danny Mars (.304 average). Mars, 23, is not a five-tool player, but he keeps hitting.

Outfielder Cole Sturgeon, 25, finished the year strong and has been in Portland for 21/2 seasons. His spring training may determine his 2018 destination.

Third baseman Michael Chavis, 22, hit 31 home runs between advanced Class A Salem and Portland. But he only had 67 games in Double-A and he tired at the end of the season, finishing with a .250 batting average. More time in Portland wouldn’t hurt.

Which players from Class A might be headed to Portland next year?

Not many.

The Red Sox minor league system has thinned at the lower levels, and Salem is not expected to send much to Portland in terms of prospects.

Left-hander Dedgar Jimenez got a late call to Portland and was the Sea Dogs’ best starter. Next up should be right-hander Mike Shawaryn, 22, a fifth-round pick in 2016. He was expected to be drafted higher, but slumped his junior year at Maryland. In his first full pro season, Shawaryn and his sinking fastball (to go along with a slider and change-up) began in Greenville, but he was promoted and made 16 starts for Salem (3.76 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 35 walks in 811/3 innings.

Roniel Raudes, 19, looked like he was on the fast track after a stellar 2016 in Greenville, but he stepped back in Salem (4.50 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) and ended August on the disabled list.

The one outfielder likely moving up is Tate Matheny, 23, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015. The son of Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny, he batted .266.

Some of the organization’s best prospects were in Greenville, which made the South Atlantic League playoffs.

While the big name was pitcher Jason Groome, a 2016 first-round draft pick, several others shined, including 18-year-old Bryan Mata (3.74 ERA) and 20-year-old left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez (116 strikeouts in 103 innings).

Groome, 19, was hampered by an oblique injury and a forearm strain. He made only 11 starts for Greenville (6.70 ERA), albeit with 58 strikeouts in 44 innings.

Third baseman Bobby Dalbec, 22, was expected to break out this year, but a wrist injury limited him to 78 games. He hit .246 with 13 home runs, including three in his last five games. If healthy, he should start next season in Salem, with his sights on Portland.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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