JUPITER, Fla. -- Topping prospect lists is a source of pride for Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. The 23-year-old is rated by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 1 prospect, and he's 27th on its Top 100 list.As much as Brinson has flourished in the Minor Leagues, he feels ready to graduate
JUPITER, Fla. -- Topping prospect lists is a source of pride for Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. The 23-year-old is rated by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 1 prospect, and he's 27th on its Top 100 list.
As much as Brinson has flourished in the Minor Leagues, he feels ready to graduate to the next level, and he's on the cusp of being a big league regular.
"I know where all the rankings and stuff are," Brinson said. "I don't want to be on those rankings anymore. I want to be a full-time guy in the big leagues, and be off all those rankings. That's all cool. I appreciate that, and it's all an honor to be recognized as one of the best players in the Minors, but I want to be one of the best players in the big leagues for a long time to come. I'm looking forward to that."
Entering the season as one of the most high-profile rookies, Brinson is clearly a player to watch. A South Florida native from Coral Springs, he's a significant building block in what the organization hopes becomes a sustainable, winning foundation.
The Marlins haven't officially set their 25-man roster, but Brinson is making a case that he's big league-ready. He's tracking toward being the everyday center fielder, and perhaps the leadoff man.
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Listed at 6 foot 3 and 195 pounds, Brinson fits the description of what the organization is seeking -- supremely athletic, impactful players. He has 20-20 potential. It's just a matter of how quickly he catches on to the rigors and challenges of the Majors.
Acquired from the Brewers in January in the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson immediately embraced his chance to play for the team he rooted for growing up.
"From the time the trade happened, I was happy to be here," he said. "Obviously, playing at home in front of my home fans and family, and the team I grew up loving, it's just easy for me to embrace it."
To the Marlins, Brinson has come as advertised.
"His comments since we acquired him this winter showed a lot of maturity," manager Don Mattingly said. "Handling the media and dealing with his situation. That's something you like to see from a young guy. More than anything, he's played well, and his work has been good. And he's been good in the clubhouse. All the things you really want, I think, Lewis has been."
Although the Marlins have made over their roster, trading Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in the offseason, the organization has sent a message to the players that the expectations are high.
That was conveyed by both Mattingly and chief executive officer Derek Jeter during a team meeting at the start of Spring Training.
"It's a culture where we're not accepting being mediocre, from the get-go," Brinson said. "We're trying to build something here that will last for a long time, and we're trying to build a winning atmosphere here -- a positive atmosphere.
Brinson was a standout in the Minors last year but struggled in limited big league action.
At Triple-A, he had a slash line of .331/.400/.562, with 13 home runs, 48 RBIs and 22 doubles. His MLB debut was last June 11, and in 21 games he had 47 at-bats. He slashed .106/.236/.277 with two home runs and three RBIs.
The question skeptics have is if Brinson will adjust to breaking pitches. In a small sample size, 36.62 percent of all big league pitches he saw were all types of offspeed, and he was 1-for-19 against them, according to Statcast™.
In Spring Training, Brinson has impressed with the way he's adjusted to all types of pitches, often within games and at-bats.
An encouraging sign came on Tuesday, when Brinson, batting leadoff, homered off Washington's Stephen Strasburg. The pitch he drove over the wall in center was a breaking ball.
"I'm just trying to be the same guy I was last year, and with previous organizations," Brinson said. "Same attitude. Same mindset. Same approach. Same on and off the field. So it's been real easy for me to come over here and just build off what I did last year."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.