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For Lewis Brinson, it’s now or never

Lewis Brinson has not lived up to expectations and time is running out for him. He needs to get the most out of the chances he’ll be given in 2020.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at Houston Astros Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2018 season, Lewis Brinson was one of baseball’s elite prospects and the Marlins’ number one, even above Sandy Alcántara and Brian Anderson, who are now vital pieces of the puzzle for Miami.

But Brinson’s path to success has been full of inconsistency and inexistent. He’s never lived up to the hype in the bigs and has not matched his performance with his scouting grades (50 for hitting and 60 for power on the 20-80 scale).

At 26 years old and after 207 games in his MLB career, the Marlins might be running out of patience with him. Why? Well, he’s off to a .182/.237/.290/.527 career start with only 13 home runs, and 211 strikeouts.

The worst part is that Brinson’s last MLB home run was on September 7, 2018, despite having played in 96 games since then (327 plate appearances).

Even though he made a good impression in Spring Training, he began the 2020 season going hitless across six at-bats, including Thursday’s performance against the Baltimore Orioles.

However, Brinson’s playing time might not be now the same he once saw, especially because the Marlins are carrying a crowded outfield (at least without the COVID-19 pandemic) and expect more talent to come up eventually to the Major Leagues. So it’s up to Lewis to embrace every opportunity he gets.

Monte Harrison received his long-awaited call-up this week, and there are plenty more intriguing outfielders breathing down Brinson’s neck. Jesús Sánchez, JJ Bleday and Jerar Encarnación could earn their way to Miami within the next calendar year.

There is tantalizing upside for the former first-round draft pick. If he ever gets to translate his Triple-A numbers to the bigs, the Marlins will surely enjoy that. That is the reason they have waited so long for him. After all, he’s a .313/.383/.540 lifetime hitter in 194 games and 835 plate appearances in Triple-A.

The clock is ticking louder and louder for Brinson. Could he become what he’s been projected since he became a pro? It seems we’ll find out soon.