The 2018 season has not been kind to Miami Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson. After a respectable start that saw Brinson go 5-for-17 through the first three games, a two week slump saw his average get cut by more than half.
This is not how the Marlins envisioned their return after trading Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. Brinson is showing signs of life. Brinson managed to go 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI in Thursday’s 12-3 loss. The two hits by Brinson snapped an 0-for-9 stretch, part of a larger 1-for-35 slump. While the Marlins lost again, Brinson is finally showing signs of life at the plate.
At the start of the year it appeared that Brinson may provide a somewhat steady bat in the lineup. Unfortunately Brinson would only manage two hits in his next 35 at-bats. Entering Thursday’s game Brinson’s slash line was .131/.185/.131 with an OPS of .316. This is also known as not good. After his two home run game these numbers have jumped up to .156/.206/.250 and an OPS of .456. This is better but still not great. These numbers will have to continue to improve to help Miami potentially win some ballgames.
In last night’s game Brinson got his first hit in nearly a week. It was also his first multi-hit game in over two weeks. This is a trend that cannot continue. The Marlins need Brinson to produce and not go into a two week slump. Luckily it looks like that Brinson is busting out of his slump.
What does Lewis Brinson need to do to bust out for the Marlins?
Brinson needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Including his 21 game stint with the Brewers last year Brinson is striking out in just over 30 percent of his at-bats at the big league level. When compared to his time in AAA last season, Brinson only struck out in just over 18 percent of his at-bats. This is an extremely high strikeout rate and it will need to come down tremendously for Brinson to bust out. Through 17 games Brinson already has six multi-strikeout games.
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In addition to striking out less, Brinson will need to get the ball in the air more. 61.9 percent of his batted balls have been of the ground ball variety while fly balls have accounted for 23.8 percent. Brinson is capable of getting the ball in the air more. In AAA last season his ground ball and fly ball percentages were 45.6 and 39.7 respectively. Brinson has the approach and the ability to put the ball in the air more, he just has to apply it while at the big league level. With Thursday’s two home run game, it certainly seems like things are trending in the right direction.
As long as Brinson can strike out less and put the ball in the air more he will improve upon his disastrous start and potentially break out. It is easier said than done, but for a player like Brinson who has shown that he is capable of achieving just that it is only a matter of time before it happens.