2012 MLB Draft: Rangers Select Lewis Brinson 29th Overall


The Rangers have been to back-to-back world series. Notable free agent signings have been a part of that team, notably Adrian Beltre, but a large part of the Rangers’s success came from it’s own homegrown players.  Names like Kinsler, Andrus, Wilson and Feliz helped guide the Rangers nearly to the pinnacle.  That – the presence of homegrown stars – has not been lost on the Rangers and their recent success hasn’t caused them to neglect their future.  The Rangers led all teams in spending last year in the international free agent market and have consistently drafted high upside prep players in the draft.  The results have been amazing as the Rangers have one of the best farm systems in baseball to compliment their excellent major league team.

This year, the Rangers followed their previous pattern of adding high ceiling talent to their organization.  With the 31st overall pick, the Rangers selected prep outfielder Lewis Brinson.  Judging by the pure numbers, it was a bit of an overdraft, but it was late enough in the first round that Brinson’s upside was too impressive to ignore.  MLB.com was most enamored with Brinson, rating him as the 39th draft prospect in 2012.  Baseball America and ESPN.com were a bit more conservative, with both lists ranking him at 52nd overall.

The Stuff

The first thing that stands out about Brinson is his elite athleticism and his size.  He’s a long, lanky athlete – standing at 6’3, 170 lbs – and draws inevitable comparisons to current Padre centerfielder Cameron Maybin.  When it comes to his tools, Brinson’s defensive abilities – his speed and arm – stand out first.  His speed is well above-average, in the plus range, giving him the ability to play centerfield.  His arm is very good, although Brinson will need to work on his accuracy a bit.  Overall, Brinson should be a well above-average defensive centerfield, especially if he polishes his route-running skills.

Brinson’s speed should also help him offensively.  It’ll make him a threat on the bases and he’ll leg out his share of infield singles.  Where Brinson does hav major question marks is while standing in the actual batter’s box.  Brinson is still more athlete than ballplayer and that shows in his plate discipline.  It’s not terrible, but combined with mechanical holes in Brinson’s swing, it leads to plenty of strikeouts for the prep outfielder.  Brinson also has trouble making consistent, hard contact – again mechanical issues with his swing –  which limits his power.  Considering his frame and what Brinson has shown in practice, that power could potentially be plus or better in the future, but that is far from guaranteed.  Brinson has a terrific work ethic and plus makeup, so he will try hard to polish his game and become a complete player offensively and defensively.

That Stats

2012: 71 AB, .394/.516/.732, 4 HR, 4 3B, 4 2B, 11 SB

The Future

If Brinson is able to polish his game, his upside is immense.   He could be a star in centerfield, valuable both offensively and defensively.  Even if Brinson never fully blossoms at the plate, he could still find a useful career.  His defense should be good enough that an average offensive game would still allow him to maintain a starting job in the major leagues.  That said, he could never put it together at the plate at all and never make it through AA.  Brinson is just that type of boom or bust prospect.  That’s a solid pick at the end of the first round, especially considering how well the Rangers have developed prospects of late.


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