The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball have agreed to a contract with outfielder Lewis Brinson, according to reports out of Japan. It will be a Giants-to-Giants move for the 28-year-old Brinson, who finished the 2022 season with San Francisco before being outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster in September.
Brinson began the season in the Astros organization on a minor league contract, but didn’t see any MLB action until after Houston dealt the outfielder to San Francisco on September 1. Brinson went on to appear in 16 games with the Giants, with only a .683 OPS over 39 plate appearances. While it did mark a sixth consecutive year of big league play for Brinson, his move to NPB presents a turning point in his pro career, as Brinson has yet to live up to the hype once attached to his status as one of baseball’s top prospects.
The 29th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Brinson was selected by the Rangers, but then moved to the Brewers as part of the trade that brought Jonathan Lucroy to Texas at the 2016 trade deadline. Brinson was part of an even bigger blockbuster in January 2018, when he was one of the four youngsters dealt from Milwaukee to Miami in exchange for Christian Yelich.
Brinson kept up his impressive minor league production amidst these moves, yet his Triple-A numbers simply didn’t translate against Major League pitching. Brinson has hit .198/.246/.328 over 1150 career PA in the majors, striking out in 327 of those trips to the plate. After four seasons of struggles with the Marlins, the team finally parted ways with Brinson during the 2021-22 offseason.
The Tokyo-based Giants now represent an opportunity for Brinson to get his career on track. Though Brinson has never been able to find himself at the plate in the big leagues, his consistently strong production in Triple-A (he hit .298/.356/.566 over 373 PA at the Triple-A level last season) provides some hint that he might be able to produce against NPB pitching.