As the Miami Marlins move full steam ahead through Spring Training, the doubts about the future of this rebuilding franchise continue to linger. One of the main questions is whether or not Lewis Brinson could bounce back from a dismal 2018 campaign.
Looking back at last season for the Fort Lauderdale native, it’s no wonder that an immense amount of pressure is thrown at him in preparation for a new year. In his rookie year, Brinson batted just .199, only the fourth rookie to finish below the Mendoza line in the past 60 years (min. 400 PA). His 30% strikeout rate was worse than any of the other Marlins starting position players. It was a disaster for somebody who was widely ranked as a top-20 MLB prospect entering last season.
High expectations were put upon Brinson after he was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers. But if these early spring games are any indication (keep in mind, they often are not), the 24-year-old may have some of his own NL MVP potential.
.@LewisBrinson talks about his goals for Spring and what he's looking to accomplish for the season. pic.twitter.com/Gx20GkKeQh— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) March 4, 2019
On Monday, Brinson launched two more home runs to bring his total to five, which leads all players in Spring Training. To give you an idea of how locked in he’s been, Tuesday’s 1-for-3 performance actually lowered his batting average to .421 through eight games.
Lewis Brinson has more home runs than any other baseball player in Spring Training and he's showing he can do it to all fields pic.twitter.com/5RtwhwKIUI— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) March 5, 2019
Organizational depth is important, but Miami is also looking for its newest superstar. With Giancarlo Stanton being traded to the Yankees and then the recent departure of J.T. Realmuto, many are hoping that Brinson is the next guy for the fanbase to wrap their arms around. Who better than a South Florida native?
Brinson has all the tools necessary to rise to the occasion. Specifically, the power he’s been showing is something that Miami so desperately needs. Starlin Castro is the returning home run leader from last year’s roster, and he only hit 12.
Lewis Brinson leads #MLB with 5 home runs so far this spring. For those who keep track of vital info like this...#MARLINS SPRING TRAINING HOME RUN LEADERS— Glenn Geffner (@GlennGeffner) March 5, 2019
10 Abraham Nunez (2004)
7 Bobby Bonilla (1997)
6 Ramon Castro (2004)
6 Cliff Floyd (2001)
5 Lewis Brinson and 8 others
Granted it’s only a few weeks into Spring Training, and Opening Day is nearly a month away still, but if Brinson can make these adjustments last, then the Marlins have found a critical building block. That would simplify Derek Jeter‘s job moving forward and turn many of his skeptics into believers.