While playing for AAA Colorado Springs, Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Lewis Brinson was pulled for a pinch hitter in the first inning. Brewers fans were whipped into a frenzy as word spread.
I thought a couple of my fellow writers here at Reviewing The Brew may have needed medical attention at times. Let’s all step away from the ledge though. Brinson was not hurt and he definitely wasn’t about to be traded. The place he was headed was the Show.
Brinson was 3-31 with 13 strikeouts in 36 plate appearances with Milwaukee in June. That’s a terribly tiny sample size. Especially for a player making his major league debut. This season’s MVP at the all-star break, Aaron Judge batted only .179 in the big leagues last season. That was in 95 plate appearances so Brinson has a long way to go.
I’m not saying Lewis Brinson is another Aaron Judge. The Yankee outfielder is a masher while Brinson combines speed with a good ability to put bat to ball. Plus Brinson won’t hit only .179 in his first 95 plate appearances. This dude can rake.
In 94 at bats after being sent back to AAA Colorado Springs, Brinson slashed .404/.456/.691 with an OPS of 1.148. For the season with Colorado, Brinson had a .345/.417/.569 line along with an OPS at .986. He is ready for the major leagues.
Call it a second opportunity if you want. I prefer to call it his first real opportunity. With the news of Brett Phillips being optioned back down, Brinson is sure to get the bulk of the time in center for the Crew going forward. Phillips being sent down is disappointing, but Brinson brings a different dynamic for this team.
Pay close attention to what he does in the outfield. Back when Carlos Gomez was roaming centerfield for the Brewers, if a ball was hit in the air up the middle, he was usually getting there. Lewis Brinson brings that type of potential.
With his plus rated speed, Brinson will be able to help cover more ground. Let’s face it, with the injuries Ryan Braun is dealing with, he’s not as mobile as he once was. Brinson will help hide those holes. According to his MLB.com scouting report, Brinson has an above average arm. He also has a plus grade for defense.
Brinson also grades out with plus power and average contact. As he finds his footing with the Milwaukee Brewers, Brinson will hit the ball hard. When a player hits a ball hard it is bound to find a hole somewhere sooner or later. When he gets on base, he will wreak havoc.
In 2013, Carlos Gomez hit a career best 24 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers. He also stole a career best 40 bases. Brinson will match that power in time, and there is little doubt he will have over 40 steals in a season.
What he does with the bat for the next few months isn’t what’s important. The focus should be squarely on where his true impact will be felt: in centerfield.
We’ve seen what Phillips can do, and it’s encouraging for the future. Now, we get to enjoy another part of that future. The Lewis Brinson era officially began as he hit his first career home run Wednesday night in Washington. He’s here to stay.