Lewis Brinson did everything he could to justify his top ranking in our prospect list in the 2017 season.
At least while he was playing for the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox. His brief forays into major league ball weren’t quite as successful...although there were certainly glimpses of the talents that scouts have seen, and with his projected gradings (projected 60 - or plus - value on the 20-80 scale).
And before the season-ending hamstring injury in August while in the minors that cost him a September call-up and another chance to get his feet under him in Milwaukee.
So it isn’t all rosy. No reason to downgrade him or worry about his future as a Brewer. Or as a member of another team - his value is still high, as his desired inclusion in a potential trade for Oakland’s Sonny Gray by the A’s is the main reason that Gray is not a Brewer.
Brinson is expected to make an impact this season in Milwaukee, with prognosticators including him in potential Rookie of the Year predictions. The Brewers have a crowded outfield right now, though, and it’s possible that Lewis could begin the season at AAA to be sure he is healthy. Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, and Brett Phillips all have lain claim to spots on the major league roster, so barring a deal that sends one of them (or more!) elsewhere, one of Brinson or Phillips would be better served by regular playing time in the minors while the other plays for the parent club.
So...Brinson as a Brewer. He had a slash of .106/.236/.277, OPS .513. Two homers in 55 plate appearances over 21 games played. And a triple! He did steal a base. Despite a combined medium and hard batted ball percent of 86.6% his BABIP was a ridiculously low .107.
For the Sky Sox, Lewis fared much better. A .331/.400/.562 slash for and OPS of .962. His OPS down the stretch at the Springs after his acquisition from the Rangers in the summer of 2016 was 1.005. Perhaps that’s inflated by the high Colorado Springs altitude, but his 2015 OPS for AAA Round Rock was 1.107. The 6’3”, 195 lb outfielder may fill out and generate a bit more power than the 13 dingers he hit last year, and like Phillips he can play any of the outfield positions, and play them well. He was a first round pick in 2012 by the Rangers.
In an end of the season interview on a Brewer TV broadcast, Brinson expressed hope that he’d be recovered from his injury in time to perhaps be a member of a Brewers’ post-season roster. We’ll never know, with Milwaukee finishing a game out of the wild card, but the extra time to rehab and recover isn’t a bad thing. Lewis has shown some injury history, so that could be a concern.
Lewis Brinson remains a top major league prospect not just in the Brewers’ organization, but in all of baseball. His inclusion as an everyday outfielder along side Brett Phillips makes for an exciting defensive duo, even with Domingo Santana in right. (The excitement that Sunday generates in the field is of a different kind.) How that all works out with Ryan Braun still on the squad is a good problem to have.
So, Now it’s time to re-rate the youngsters! Coming soon to a BCB poll near you!
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.com