Considering he's been listed as the Milwaukee Brewers' best prospect on nearly every list put out this winter, it probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that MLB Pipeline is naming Lewis Brinson as one of the best outfield prospects in the game.
As part of the site's positional prospect breakdowns, Brinson was tabbed as the 5th-best outfield prospect in all of baseball. He joins Josh Hader (rated the #1 left-handed pitcher) and Jacob Nottingham (#10 catcher) as Brewers to appear on these position-specific lists.
If you've grown accustomed to reading glowing reviews of Brinson, you might find the positional ranking to be a little lower than expected, but he ranks 5th for good reason -- the outfield is where a bulk of this year's top prospects are coming from. While Nottingham may have only made the top catchers list because there are so few good catching prospects, Brinson is pushed down to #5 for the opposite reason.
Boston's Andrew Benintendi is ranked #1, but as MLB Pipeline notes, he'll graduate from prospect status almost immediately this year based on how much time he spent in the majors last year before getting hurt. Washington's Victor Robles, the rumored centerpiece of just about every blockbluster trade the Nats tried to get involved with this winter, comes in at #2, followed by Pittsburgh's Austin Meadows and Eloy Jimenez of the Cubs.
Then comes Brinson, who gets this blurb and quick video:
5. Lewis Brinson, Brewers
Brinson made huge strides with his approach with the Rangers, especially in 2015, then struggled while dealing with a shoulder injury last season before being dealt to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy deal. He finished strong post-trade with a push to Triple-A, and now his 30-30 potential is just about ready to hit the big leagues.
They praise Brinson for cleaning up his swing since signing without taking away from what they call plus raw power, while improving his pitch recognition and patience to cut down strikeouts from where they were early in his career. Defensively, they credit his high-grade speed for being able to cover for some inefficient routes in center. The power, speed and defense all earn 60 grades from the MLB Pipeline staff, with an overall grade of 55 on the 20-80 scale.
Brinson may have saved his season in the eyes of some of the more numbers-driven scouts by hitting .382/.387/.618 in 23 games after the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Considering he only has 130 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level, he'll likely return to Colorado Springs to start this season, at least until the Super-2 deadline passes early in the year.
As for the rest of the list, Brinson is followed by 2016 #1 overall pick Mickey Moniak of the Phillies, Cleveland's Bradley Zimmer, San Diego's Manuel Margot, Andrew Miller trade centerpiece Clint Frazier of the Yankees, and Seattle's Kyle Lewis.
MLB Pipeline's full Top 100 prospects list will be released on Saturday with a one-hour special on MLB Network, starting at 7 p.m. CT.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference