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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lewis Brinson is Up Next for the Texas Rangers

When star outfielder Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers to sign with the divisional rival Los Angeles Angels this past offseason, it was believed the team would struggle to find his replacement. After all, the former MVP has 162 game averages of .320 with 35 home runs and 120 RBI during his career.

While it may take a little time, the Rangers may already have Hamilton’s replacement in their system. His name is Lewis Brinson, and he is one of the best young players in the minor leagues.

He was a star for Coral Springs High School in Florida. According to an article by’s T.R Sullivan, he hit .394 as a senior with four home runs, 21 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

The slender right-handed passed on a scholarship to the University of Florida when the Rangers made him their first-round choice (29th overall selection) in last year’s draft.

A.J. Preller, the Rangers director of player development gushed to Sullivan about the team’s find. “I definitely think in Lou Brinson, we have a tremendous body. A 6-foot-4, 190-pound center fielder that's a plus run, plus throw. We think he's going to stay in the middle of the field. We really think we have a five-tool type talent with a chance to hit and hit with some power.”

Brinson started his professional career in fine fashion. After signing, he was assigned to Texas’ rookie league team in Airzona. He appeared in 54 game, hitting .283 with seven home runs, 42 RBI, 22 doubles, seven triples and 14 stolen bases.

Before this season,’s Keith Law named Brinson as the Rangers’ fifth-best prospect in one of his Insider features. He was particularly impressed with the work the youngster had put in since being drafted:

I was blown away by the changes Lewis Brinson made to his swing over the summer, setting up his hands a little lower and further back while shortening his stride, significantly improving his bat speed through the zone without any loss of power. His pitch recognition needs work, but he's got easy power from his hand strength, and as a plus runner who covers a lot of territory in center, he has star potential if he can show some mastery over the strike zone.

Still just 18, Brinson was aggressively assigned to Single-A to start the 2013 season. While he has had some struggles, the talent is very obvious. He has played in 18 games and hit .231 with two home runs, eight RBI and four steals. On the down side, he has also struck out 30 times in 78 at-bats, offering proof that he is still adapting to the higher level of competition.

Brinson has a ways to go, but is clearly in the future plans of the Rangers. Replacing a player of Hamilton’s caliber can be a tall order, but the prospect looks like he could be up to the task.

This past offseason, Brinson graciously took the time to answer some of my questions. Continue reading to find out more about this exciting young player.

Lewis Brinson Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite player growing up was Juan Pierre, mostly because he played my position and at the time played for my favorite team, the Marlins. Really, he just stood out to me with his amazing speed.  

You carry the label of a five-tool player; prior to the draft which of those tools did scouts/teams seem most interested in?: Scouts mostly were interested in my speed. I mean obviously other things stood out to them, but my mostly my speed. 

How difficult was your decision to not attend the University of Florida?: Very difficult. I mean they are ranked number one in the country, who wouldn't want to go there and play for a great coach like coach Sully? It wasn't an easy decision, but I knew what my ultimate goal was, so pro ball was the way to go. 

Your dad passed away when you were younger, how much influence did your mom have on your baseball development?: Like I tell everybody that ever asks me that question, she's my biggest fan. Without her there is no way I would be where I'm at today. She has been unbelievable. 

Can you describe what your 2012 draft day experience was like?: Wow is all I can say to describe draft day. It was probably the best day of my life thus far. I was speechless that night. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced during your first professional season?: The biggest challenges were probably getting used to playing every day for three months straight and getting adjusted to speed of the game from high school. 

How difficult was your transition from metal to wooden bats?: Umm, not difficult at all. I loved hitting with wood bats. I actually asked my coach in high school if I could use wood during the season. He wasn't buying into the idea though, haha

If you could do one thing differently from this past season, what would that be and why?: That's a easy one. I would worry more about the things that I could control instead of worrying about things that I couldn't control. 


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