At Frisco RoughRiders media day in 2016, after I knocked out the mandatory baseball topics with star prospect Lewis Brinson, we traded jokes and jabs about the (past) rivalry between the NBA’s Miami Heat and local Dallas Mavericks.
Brinson, still just 23, was born in Fort Lauderdale, just outside Miami, and attended high school in Coral Springs. Safe to say, he’s a South Florida kid.
Five and a half years after being selected 29th overall by the Texas Rangers, Brinson is returning home via the second blockbuster trade of his young career.
As you’ll remember, Brinson headlined the Jonathan Lucroy trade return, going from the Rangers to the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2016 deadline.
Now, amidst the Miami Marlins fire sale, Volume III, Brinson has once again been traded and once again tops the return for a star player.
Transaction trees are always fun to follow, especially when it’s a player like Edwin Jacksonwho has a different uniform every season.
However —at least until vol. IV of the Miami fire sale— Lewis Brinson is home. Literally.
As publicly discussed, the trades so far this offseason have left quite a bit to be desired for the Marlins. Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman’s months long ownership has already seen the departures of Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and now Yelich.
Collectively, a top prospect like Brinson hasn’t come back Miami’s way. Until now.
The Ozuna package produced the promising Magneuris Sierra and Sandy Alcantara, but of the four deals already completed —J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour and Starlin Castro are still likely to be moved— only Brinson was a top 50 prospect in John’s 2017 Top 200 and Diaz was next, slotting in at number 90.
Sierra was 122nd and Alcantara 147th. Nick Neidert came in at 168.
In anticipation of John’s 2018 list, Keith Law recently released his and Brinson is ranked 32nd while Alcantara gives the Marlins their other top 100 name at 87.
Baseball America’s refreshed inventory has Brinson 18th, Alcantara 70th and Jorge Guzman 87th.
Incumbents Braxton Garrett, Tyler Kolek and Trevor Rogers are currently nowhere to be found. Injuries and comparatively low fanfare given their draft positions are big factors there.
The Marlins farm system has certainly been improved this off-season. With a fire sale, there’s really no way not to. Fortunately, even with the return packages failing to fully inspire, they were able to use the talent, youth and extremely friendly contract of Yelich to net a blue chipper in Brinson.
He’ll certainly be in centerfield opening day and the glove has been ready for w awhile now. The bat will need time and he’ll have it. Expect Sierra to join him at the onset of the 2018 season in right field while Alcantara is not far off with Guzman and Neidert on his heels.
Diaz has star potential but also a pretty low floor, so his development and maturation will be just as key as any of the others. Not mentioned yet is pitcher Zac Gallen, who certainly can’t be forgotten about in an organization starving for pitching.
Christopher Torres gives the team another high-upside infielder that will need time to develop in the minor leagues and there are not many better athletes in the baseball world than Monte Harrison. Rounding out his baseballs tools could make for a trade worth it in the end.
In short, there’s hope. In long, it’s going to take time and patience. Quite a bit of it.