The Marlins have designated outfielder Lewis Brinson for assignment, per a team announcement. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to infielder Joey Wendle, whose previously reported acquisition from the Rays has now been formally announced.
Brinson, 27, was the centerpiece of Miami’s return in the blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers. Brinson joined the Marlins organization alongside, infielder Isan Diaz, outfielder Monte Harrison and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto. At the time, it was a strong-looking return given that both Brinson and Diaz were regarded as high-end prospects, with Brinson in particular being vaunted as one of the game’s most promising all-around farmhands. As most fans are well aware, however, the deal didn’t pan out for the Fish.
There was always some risk to Brinson, a toolsy first-round pick of the Rangers back in 2012 who found his way to Milwaukee by way of another prominent trade (Jonathan Lucroy). Brinson made a brief MLB debut with the Brewers in 2017, tallying 55 plate appearances and struggling quite a bit as a 23-year-old getting his feet wet in the big leagues. That rough debut didn’t dim his prospect status much at all, but he never really made many strides in parts of four seasons with the Brewers.
From 2018-21, Brinson logged 1056 plate appearances in the big leagues but mustered only a .203/.248/.376 batting line with a 28% strikeout rate against just a 4.6% walk rate. He continues to rate as one of the fastest players in MLB, per Statcast’s average sprint speed, but Brinson doesn’t rate as a premium defender in the outfield by most publicly available metrics. He’s also seen his exit velocity and hard-hit rates drop since 2017-18, and this year’s penchant for popping the ball in the air was particularly concerning; 13 of Brinson’s 75 fly-balls were pop-ups.
Brinson is out of minor league options, so any team that acquires him will have to carry him on the MLB roster next season or else attempt to pass him through waivers before sending him to Triple-A.