Joey Gallo has an argument, to a degree. After all, he actually played in the majors, and at times played very well before a difficult stretch at Triple A.
But Mazara and Brinson, outfielders on the rise, had the best campaigns among players who didn’t spend time with the big club. In Brinson’s case, he finally showed the potential that comes with being a first-round pick.
The 29th overall pick in 2012 excelled at three levels in 2015 and finished the year by hitting .300 in the Arizona Fall League. Playing a level away from the majors and then wearing a Rangers jersey in Arizona has him thinking big.
“At Triple-A, that’s one step away. Even Double-A is one step away,” Brinson said. “I’ve always wanted to be in the Fall League to have the opportunity to wear that big-league jersey.”
Brinson posted a .300/.408/.575 slash line in the AFL on top of his .332/.403/.601 line at high Class A High Desert, Frisco and Round Rock. The 21-year-old was one of only three minor-leaguers to post an OPS above 1.000.
The 6-foot-3, 170 pound Brinson found an approach at the plate, and for the first time as a pro stuck to it for a full season. The result was a reduction in his strikeout rate to 21.5 percent.
“My ultimate plan is staying middle and the other way,” Brinson said. “Every great hitter has to have a great plan up there. I finally had a plan and stuck to it all year, and stuck to what worked for me and didn’t panic when I had a bad game. I trusted myself.”
The Rangers’ outfield appears set for 2016 and maybe 2017 depending on Josh Hamilton’s health. Though Brinson plays center field, he has played the corner outfield spots and has no problem moving around.
“Whatever gets me to the big leagues fastest,” he said. “Whatever I can do to help that team win is what I’m striving for.”
• Guilder Rodriguez retired as a player in September, singling in his final at-bat, but he’s not leaving the Rangers’ organization. He was hired by Texas in November to be a coach in the Dominican Summer League.
• Travis Demeritte, the 30th overall pick in the 2013 draft, was batting just .214 after 140 at-bats in the Australian Baseball League. The second baseman, 21, missed most of the 2015 season while serving an 80-game suspension for using a banned substance.