Marlins OF Lewis Brinson faces an uphill battle this spring

Will Lewis Brinson finally produce in what may be his last chance with the Miami Marlins this season?

Until there is a final decision on what happens with Lewis Brinson this spring, the Miami Marlins are faced with the continuing question of whether the outfielder will be on the 2020 roster.

If you read what Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has to say regarding who makes the team, it’s already a foregone conclusion that Brinson, who has not performed up to expectations the past two seasons he has been on the Marlins roster, will be on the Opening Day roster.

I’m not one to settle on that just yet. There is still plenty of work to do in camp, which starts this week (Hallelujah!) and there are many new faces who, just like the former Milwaukee Brewers farmhand, are trying to make it to the Major Leagues this season.

Brinson knows in Jupiter that all eyes are on him and his chances with the Marlins organization are running out. This is his “make or break” season down in South Florida.

“I’ve got to perform,” Brinson said in an interview in late November via MLB.com. “That’s the name of the game up here. I’ve got to contribute to the team more. To be on this team, and where we’re going, and where everything is going for us, so far, I’ve got to contribute.”

It won’t be the end of the world if Brinson begins 2020 in Wichita, the Marlins new Triple=A affiliate. But it will be harder for him to get back to Miami, get into the starting lineup, and show he is ready to assume the role planned for him when the team traded for him prior to the 2018 season.

Miami’s front office did a good job of adding power and speed to their roster this offseason, and with that came the reality that Brinson is fighting for a job more so than at any time in his career. Even with a spot on the roster, that does not mean he will be starting in centerfield off the bat

“In 75 big league games in 2019, the Coral Springs, Fla., native slashed .173/.236/.221 with no home runs and 15 RBIs,” Frisaro writes. “Brinson split the season with the Marlins and at Triple-A New Orleans, where he put up solid numbers — .270/.361/.510 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs.”

The Marlins need his minor league production on the Major League level in a big way.

Miami added Corey Dickerson to play in left field and will have a solid group of outfielders to compete for the centerfield and rightfield jobs. If all goes according to plan, Brian Anderson will start the season opposite the newly acquired veteran free agent. That leaves Brinson in essentially a fight to remain part of the parent club’s plans.

“The organization has maintained patience with the athletic center fielder, who has the raw talent to be a big-league standout. In 640 Minor League games, Brinson is a .283/.352/.499 hitter with 106 home runs and 382 RBIs,” Frisaro adds. “But potential only goes so far.”

Now, with camp opening in less than a week, the time is now for Brinson and others to put their best effort forward. There is still a belief he can be a solid player in the Majors and for the Marlins. But it is possible those beliefs aren’t as bright as they once were when the Marlins first acquired the potential five-tool player.

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