The Miami Marlins are in a tough spot with Lewis Brinson

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins reacst after making the final out of the game aginst the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 21, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins reacst after making the final out of the game aginst the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 21, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

When the Miami Marlins traded Christian Yelich to the Brewers in a package deal that included Lewis Brinson a lot was expected from him. He was immediately labeled the organizations top prospect.

With a third of the season gone Lewis Brinson is struggling. The Miami Marlins must decide what to do with the 24-year-old outfielder.

Lewis Brinson
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 03: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox in the sixth inning at Marlins Park on April 3, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Rough cannot begin to describe the 2018 season for Brinson. Through 51 games, he is slashing just .155/.199/.265 with a .464 OPS. These are the lowest for any non-pitcher on the roster who sees regular playing time. This is a cause for concern, not only for Brinson but the direction of the Marlins franchise. Brinson was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. It is difficult to watch a player so highly regarded struggle so badly.

In addition to Brinson’s relatively poor slash numbers he has struck out a team high 62 times. This is 16 more than the next highest player on the team (Brian Anderson has 46 strikeouts). The alarming statistic is that Brinson has more than double the amount of strikeouts than hits (62-to-28). At this moment in time it is now more than twice as likely for Brinson to strikeout rather than get a hit. Just as alarming is the lack of walks drawn by Brinson. He’s only reached first via the base on balls eight times. Essentially everything that could go wrong for Brinson at the plate has gone wrong. He did give us this moment, though:

Should the Marlins send Lewis Brinson down to AAA?

Lewis Brinson
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 22: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins strikes out in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on April 22, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Traditionally this is the path for a team to take with a struggling young player. Send the kid down to AAA and allow him to fix whatever is wrong with him. Afterwards call him back up and hope the issue does not resurface. However this is not a traditional situation in Miami. There are ample opportunities for young players to face big league pitching due to the team jettisoning most of their talent prior to the season. This can allow the Marlins to give their young players a lot of experience against the best pitchers baseball has to offer. While they may struggle it is a valuable learning experience and can lead to improvements down the line.

The issue with sending Brinson down to AAA is the level of pitching. He will most likely face talent that will not be up to par with what he has seen in the majors. Either the pitcher will be too young and not have command of his full arsenal or they will be a pitcher who will not stay up long enough for anything more than a spot start. What it comes down to is level of competition. Sending Brinson down to rake against minor league pitchers is good in theory. It will not do anything for his performance against superior talent.

The Miami Marlins need to find out what they have in Lewis Brinson

Lewis Brinson
MIAMI, FL – MARCH 30: Lewis Brinson #9 of the Miami Marlins dives back to first base. on a pickoff attempt in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs. at Marlins Park on March 30, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

What it comes down to is that the Marlins need to figure out what Lewis Brinson is as a player and if he will ever turn into anything. Teams that do not do this ultimately end up with a roster full of what are referred to as AAAA (Quad A) players. Too good for the minors and not good enough for the majors. These type of players look great against inferior talent but crumble against MLB caliber players. By giving Brinson the time and chances to sink or swim, it can allow the Marlins to determine if he will ever be a full time contributor or a AAAA player.

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Another factor in play is the likelihood that the Marlins trade even more of their players away. This will only give the young players in Miami more chances to see top tier pitching. The roster is going to become even younger and the Marlins need find out if these players can contribute. This includes giving the struggling Brinson more at-bats. It is best for the Marlins to find out now if Brinson is Miami’s new regular in center. If he’s to be their reserve outfielder, the Marlins need to know. Either way the Marlins need to play Brinson and find out what he is, for better or worse.

For more on the future of the Miami Marlins, check out Hector’s draft preview series.

Next: Miami Defeats Padres in Series Opener

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