I watched Brinson in this year's Arizona Fall League. He was as advertised on defense, but his offense was much better than expected.
I saw Brinson hit some line-drive ropes to the gaps in the AFL. A warning flag about Brinson's contact rate was raised when he struck out 74 times in 265 plate appearances in the Arizona League in 2012. He continued that negative trend by striking out 191 times in 503 trips to the plate at Class A Hickory the following year. Yes, there was reason for concern. Those concerns have quieted.
There has been improvement since. He has made much better contact the past two seasons. This season, he played at three progressively better classifications. The conversation has changed from swings and misses in his game to loud extra-base hits and home runs.
As a result of his improvement, Brinson has gone from a defense-first prospect to a more balanced, effective and dangerous multi-tool player.
Reminding me of outfielder Chris Young, Brinson has quick hands through the ball, as he makes good use of his long arms.
Brinson has strong wrists and forearms that allow him to flash true power to all fields. His speed takes over on the bases, and he can convert a long single into a double.
Defense remains the focal point of Brinson's game. He gets an excellent jump due to his good read off the bat. Even while dealing with the high skies of Arizona, Brinson made quick judgments, knew the trajectory of the batted ball and was in the correct location when the ball dropped in his glove. His range, his closing speed and his agility are positive components of his outfield defense.
Using a strong and accurate arm, he gets good carry on his throws and makes good decisions about using his cutoff men in the throwing process.
Brinson is turning himself into a good hitter. Realizing his limitations and knowing the areas that need work have proved beneficial as he advances in his development. He knows he has to cut down his strikeouts. He knows he has to use the entire field as opposed to pulling every pitch. I've seen great progress in both those aspects.
While I don't think he'll lead the league in hitting, I do think Brinson can be a tough out at the plate by continuing to put the ball in play and using his speed.
Clearly his defense and speed still rule his toolbox. He has the ability to influence games with solid defense and very good speed. He won't be shy about trying to steal a base or trying to steal a run. I think his efforts on the bases will be important facets of his team's game plan.
If there was an area of his game that wasn't positive in the Arizona Fall League, I would say it was hitting breaking balls. However, that isn't a major issue. He centers the ball well and is working on his plate coverage and pitch selection.
I find this interesting
Growing up, Brinson really liked watching Juan Pierre. It is not a name one might expect, but it sure is a good one.
The future for Brinson
He has achieved a great deal in a short period of time. If his progress continues, the Rangers will find a place for him. He's sincere about his development, and everything that comes off his bat makes that special sound. He can play.
Brinson in a word