Brinson's Upside Attracts Rangers
South Florida native Lewis Brinson
grew up with the Marlins as his favorite team, but that relationship came to an end when the Rangers selected him with the 29th overall pick of the draft.
"Obviously, I'm a bigger Texas Rangers fan now," he said. "It feels great knowing that I'm going to be a Texas Ranger and be a part of that organization and everything they stand for. There's still a little bit of work to be done, but it's pretty close."
Brinson was one of three prep players the Rangers targeted on the first day of the draft. They turned the 39th pick into power-hitting third baseman Joey Gallo
from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas and used the 53rd pick on righthander Collin Wiles
, from Blue Valley West High in Overland Park, Kan.
The Rangers have selected a high school player with their top pick in four straight years as they continue to add high-upside prospects to the game's top-rated minor-league system.
In Brinson, who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 180 pounds, the Rangers believe they've landed an athletic, defensive-minded center fielder with plus speed and a bat that has some pop.
He flexed his muscles last summer at Wrigley Field to beat out Byron Buxton
, the draft's No. 2 overall pick, in the home run derby at the Under Armour All-America Game. Brinson rebounded from a sluggish start to his senior campaign to hit .394 with four doubles, four triples and four home runs for Coral Springs (Fla.) High.
The pressure of selecting a college—he's committed to Florida—and the possibility of becoming a first-round choice affected him early this season, but he found his rhythm at the plate and helped lead Coral Springs to the postseason.
But his offense isn't where he believes he excels.
"I take pride in my defense and my arm, and having instincts," Brinson said. "I think that's probably my strength. I think that at the plate I'm really focused, and I've developed a good eye up there."
He's also developed a sudden fondness for the Rangers.
• Double A Frisco shortstop Jurickson Profar, the Rangers' top prospect, saw his streak of reaching base snapped at 50 consecutive games June 3. Profar, 19, also has a 29-game hitting streak this season, and each streak is the longest at any level this season. The Rangers' high is 32 by another shortstop, Elvis Andrus.
• Former All-Star outfielder Brad Hawpe, also at Frisco, was forced onto the 7-day disabled list in late May because of left elbow fatigue as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last year. He was just 5-for-37 in 10 games before hitting the DL.