Not only did the Marlins acquire a highly touted outfield prospect on Thursday when they received Lewis Brinson from the Brewers, they also gained a team historian in the deal.A former first-round Draft pick of the Rangers, Brinson is a graduate of Coral Springs High School in nearby Fort Lauderdale.
Not only did the Marlins acquire a highly touted outfield prospect on Thursday when they received Lewis Brinson from the Brewers, they also gained a team historian in the deal.
A former first-round Draft pick of the Rangers, Brinson is a graduate of Coral Springs High School in nearby Fort Lauderdale. From that upbringing, he became a devout Marlins fan.
"I particularly remember that 2003 team with Juan Pierre," said Brinson during a Friday morning conference call. "To this day, I idolize him. Pudge Rodriguez, Derek Lee, [Juan] Encarnacion. Jeff Conine. All of those guys. Growing up going to the old Marlins park and watching them play was awesome. I looked forward to doing that all the time. So to get to play for my hometown team, I can't tell you guys how excited I am."
Brinson allowed that every time he got assigned a paper in school about what he wanted to do when he grew up, he always wrote that he wanted to play for the Marlins.
"My dream was to play in the big leagues and to play for, at the time, the Florida Marlins," Brinson said. "And to get that opportunity now is just absolutely crazy. ... That's reality now. It's kind of crazy and surreal."
Being a Marlins fans puts Brinson in an interesting position. He arrives to the team in the midst of a rebuild, in a trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers. But he feels like he'll be a part of a long-term success story for the Marlins.
"I'm glad to be a part of it," Brinson said. "I'm glad the guys that got traded with me are glad to be a part of it. I can't wait to bring this organization back to where it once was. I'm really excited to be a part of that for the future. And I think our future is pretty bright. I think our fans have a lot to be excited about.
"Obviously, [the fans are] a little bit hurt, but I think they're going to be a little bit surprised by what we have to offer with all of the young guys."
The 23-year-old Brinson, who has 21 games of Major League experience, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the game's 13th-best prospect. Scouts have raved about the ceiling of his power-speed combination, touting Brinson as a potential 30-30 player. He cracked the Majors last June, and though he struggled in 21 games --slashing .106/.236/.277 with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 55 plate appearances -- Brinson has impressed over six Minor League seasons, with a .287/.353/.502 line, 89 homers, 29 triples, 133 doubles and 322 RBIs to go with 96 steals.
"I learned a lot [last season]," Brinson said. "Learned how to be routine oriented. I learned to stay within myself, and not get out of myself and try to do too much. Just tell myself that I belong in the big leagues. It's tough up there. Guys make adjustments. There's cameras. There's video on you from the moment you step on the field. So they have an edge on you already from watching video. You just have to stick to your plan up there."
Brinson served two stints in the Major Leagues last season, and he noted that the second time around he told himself he was going to have fun.
"Just play a kid's game," he said. "That's what I've always been playing, a kid's game. That's probably the biggest thing that helped me physically and mentally, just go out there and have fun and play my game."
Brinson said he is "more than ready" to be an everyday Major League player.
"Especially after last year getting that little taste," he said. "I think I'm more ready to contribute to a big league team. Hopefully the Marlins give me that opportunity."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.