Marlins letting Brinson go through growing pains

May 30th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The Marlins continue to show patience with center fielder , who has shown glimpses of his tremendous upside mixed in with growing pains.

Tuesday was another reminder that Brinson is capable of spectacular plays, but still is an unfinished product at the big league level. The rookie made a remarkable diving catch, and added an infield single, but also committed two errors in the Marlins' 9-5 loss to the Padres at Petco Park.

As an organization, the Marlins are giving the 24-year-old every opportunity, but they also are talking internally about what is in his best interest.

"I'm not going to measure it every day," manager Don Mattingly said. "We talk about it all the time internally. It's not something I'm going to sit here and tell you exactly what we're thinking, but it's something we talk about, and whatever we do, it's going to be what we think is best for Lewis and his development. Again, we're patient. We talk about it, and if something happens, you'll find out about it."

Defensively, Brinson has mostly played at a high level. In the fifth inning, he took an extra-base hit away from with a diving catch. According to Statcast™, it was a 4-star catch, with a catch probability of just 34 percent.

Brinson added a single in the second inning.

Conversely, he was charged with an error on 's RBI single in the first inning, allowing a second runner to score. And in the eighth inning, he had line drive to deep center by pop out of his glove, enabling another unearned run to score.

"I'm not worried about Brins, he's pretty level-headed," Mattingly said. "I worry about the other side, more than anything else. The offensive side. The defense is not even a concern."

At the plate, Brinson is batting .157/.200/.265 with six home runs and 17 RBIs.

Even with his struggles, on occasion, he has shown his immense power, reflected by a recent home run projected by Statcast™ at 450 feet.

But an area in which the organization would like to see more improvement is strike zone discipline. According to Fangraphs, Brinson is swinging at 38.8 percent of the pitches he sees that are outside the zone. That's a high mark, and he is making contact on 58.7 percent of the pitches off the plate.

"Part of it is strike zone discipline," Mattingly said. "We talk about it with guys, you are what you eat. If you keep swinging at the ball out of the strike zone, it's hard to hit. I don't care who you are. That's part of his progression. It needs to be strike zone discipline, also."

One reason the Marlins have not optioned Brinson to Triple-A New Orleans is because they feel he has already accomplished enough at that level. In the Brewers' system a year ago, Brinson batted .331 at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

For now, Brinson is getting plenty of chances to work through his struggles.

Mattingly has seen improvement on occasion with Brinson's approach.

"It's tough when you see numbers not really showing up for that," Mattingly said. "Again, you keep working on improvement. That's where we kind of judge him at some point. You never know what's going to happen. But obviously, he's one of the guys that we look at with big upside. You see the hand speed and everything. It's just getting him in the right position consistently, and him being able to finish that swing off in a consistent way, too."

Worth noting

• One of the most popular all-time Marlins, and a standout on their 2003 World Series championship team, will be representing the organization at the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday at the MLB Network studio. On Tuesday, MLB announced that Juan Pierre will be among the Draft representatives at the first day of the event. The Marlins have the 13th overall pick in the first round, and Pierre will be on hand for the announcement of the pick. Geoff DeGroot also will be there as part of the Marlins' delegation.

• With the Marlins in the midst of a three-city road trip, Mattingly gave a couple regulars a breather. On Tuesday, second baseman and third baseman each did not start. Mattingly is resting some of the regulars in the four-game series. Catcher J.T. Realmuto was off on Monday, but back in the lineup on Tuesday.