Feb 17, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers outfielder Lewis Brinson (left) and shortstop Hanser Alberto during team practice at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Hello readers! My apologies for the hiatus, I’ve been having some issues with my computer that have limited me from writing as frequently as I would like, but I am back now to write about an extremely exciting prospect in that of Lewis Brinson.
The 2013 Hickory Crawdads were one of the most talented teams in all of minor league baseball last year. They were also one of the most polarizing teams in all of minor league baseball. Jon Daniels and company have been in the habit lately of drafting and signing internationally players who are extremely high risk and high reward. Lewis Brinson is one of the best examples of this.
Drafted 29th overall out of a Florida high school in 2012, Brinson comes in standing 6′ 4″ and 180 lb. Batting and throwing righty, Lewis Brinson plays mostly center field for now but does have the arm to eventually move over to right field if necessary. At the time of the draft Brinson got knocked for his actual performance his senior year and his ability to make consistent contact. At the time of the draft ESPN had his hit tool at a 20 which is the lowest end of the scale.
In his first year of professional baseball in the Arizona rookie league, Lewis Brinson put up a slash line of .283/.345/.523 which was more than many expected of him. he had a decent strikeout to walk ratio of 74/21 with 265 plate appearances. He also showed his speed on the base paths stealing 14 bags in 16 attempts. All of this was overlooked by most because of his teammate Joey Gallo‘s monstrous performance breaking the Arizona League record for home runs with 18.
Lewis’ 2013 campaign in Hickory was a bit of a regression. He showed why those scouts paused on his ability to make contact striking out a minor league leading 191 times in his 503 plate appearances. This strike out rate is very alarming, if you can’t make contact at the lower levels it will be extremely difficult to advance through the system. On the upside for his 2013 campaign, Lewis Brinson was one of only a handful of minor leaguers to join the 20/20 home run stolen base club (Brinson had 21 bombs and 24 steals). These contact issues were one of the main reasons that he stayed in Hickory this year.
Still a teenager until May, it is not all gloom and doom for this young star. Lewis gets high marks for his make up and work ethic. The minor league system is a grind and it takes hard work for many years along with talent to make it to the major leagues. If he puts all of his tools together, Lewis Brinson will be an absolute beast at the major league level, but at this point that is still very much up in the air.
Lewis’ 2014 season will be very key for his career as a good season could bolster his confidence and help him to take his game to the next level. A mid season promotion to Myrtle Beach would be a huge step for his career. Keep an eye on his batting average and strike out rate this year as they will be key indicators of his maturation as a hitter. Since Brinson is still so young, he still has plenty of time to tame his tools. I believe his work ethic will propel him through the system and prove the haters wrong.
This kid, and I say kid because he is actually younger than me, could be an absolute superstar at the major league level if he puts it all together. A major league comparison could be drawn to Carlos Gomez with a better attitude. A plus defender in center field who is a major threat on the bases and can hit for plenty of power. Lewis has potential to be a genuine 5 tool player if he can reach his ceiling. Keep an eye on Brinson this year because he will be an exciting player to watch.
Scouting grades: Hit: 35 Power: 60 Run: 65 Arm: 60 Field: 70