Is this the season Lewis Brinson finally puts it all together and becomes the player the Marlins hoped he would be?
And now for the annual discussion during Spring Training whether Lewis Brinson will make the Miami Marlins Opening Day roster. It seems baseball talk in March isn’t complete unless there is some debate as to whether the outfielder should not only be on the 26-man roster but whether he will open the season as a starter.
Those days may be gone for now as other Marlins players have stepped up and showing they can handle the rigors of day-to-day play. And with the wealth of talent this year in camp and on the field, it isn’t a lock Brinson makes the team despite what seems to be a rejuvenated career this February and March.
For Brinson, who is in his third year with the Marlins after being shipped to South Florida as part of the Christian Yelich trade, it’s a matter of making the roster and staying in South Florida regardless of how he has used my manager Don Mattingly.
"“He looks like a different guy,” Mattingly said. “Brins has looked really good. So you’re looking at that whole package, also.”"
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For fans of the organization, it’s a hard sell. Brinson looked great this time last year, crushing the baseball and playing solid defense during the spring before a total meltdown and collapse in the Majors. It resulted in a demotion to AAA New Orleans where he learned to become more patient at the plate and took his time refocusing on the game.
But to his credit, Brinson found his swing and smacked home runs and played great defense, like expected of him on the next level. He looked like a player he deserves to be back in Marlins Park.
When he returned in September, the outfielder was a different person, and still exhibited some of the same issues he had prior to his change of scenery during the season. He could not find his power stroke and that might be the biggest thing missing. If he makes the Marlins from the start of the season, is this the same player we all thought could be a five-tool star?
"“Brinson has made more consistent contact, striking out only once in 21 at-bats,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “In the Marlins’ 2-2 tie against the Nationals on Saturday, Brinson grinded out a 10-pitch showdown with lefty Sean Doolittle before grounding out sharply to third base. Brinson battled from two strikes down and worked the count full before the groundout.”"
With a crowd in the outfield, it’s anyone’s guess who makes the roster other than Jonathan Villar and Corey Dickerson, who appear to be locks to play in Miami. There may be three roster slots open and veterans looking for work towards the end of the month.
Brinson is somewhere in the middle of the pack. But his determination might be just as vibrant as anyone else with his career on the line and a spot on the 26-man roster at stake.