Post-hype sleeper is a term used often in fantasy to describe a former prospect that’s fallen off the radar due to previous disappointments. Lewis Brinson is doing his best this spring to be the latest to get that moniker attached to his name.
Brinson slugged a pair of home runs for the Marlins in Monday’s 9-8 Grapefruit League victory over the Nationals. The young outfielder took Jeremy Hellickson deep down the left field line in the second inning for a solo shot and then swatted a second one over the boards to the opposite field in the fifth off of Erick Fedde for another solo blast.
The two-homer game was Brinson’s second in less than a week, as he also went deep twice last Wednesday versus the Mets. He has five home runs overall already during Grapefruit League play, going 7-for-16 (.438) with a stolen base, as well. The five bombs lead all players this spring.
Brinson’s monster start this spring is, of course, in stark contrast to what he did in the regular season last year when he put up an ugly .199/.240/.338 batting line and 120/17 K/BB ratio across 406 plate appearances. Among players with at least 400 plate appearances, his on-base percentage was the lowest in baseball. He was even worse in 2017 with a .106/.236/.277 line over 21 games with the Brewers.
Given his cringe-worthy numbers in the majors to this point, it’s hard to get overly excited about what Brinson is doing in the early going during Grapefruit League play. That said, we must remind ourselves that he’s just 24 and is a former top-20 prospect. There’s 20/20 potential with Brinson, and worth noting is that his plate discipline wasn’t nearly as bad in the minors as it’s been so far in the big leagues. Some improvement in that regard is feasible.
As of this writing, Brinson’s ADP in NFBC leagues is 480.6. In other words, it’s not going to cost you anything to take a flier in hopes that he is, in fact, a post-hype sleeper.
Springer Off to the Races?
When George Springer was first summoned to the majors, the universal feeling was that he would be a perennial 20/20 threat. After all, he slugged 61 home runs and stole 77 bases over his two full minor league seasons. Perhaps 20/20 was even selling him short.
Unfortunately, while the power has been as advertised, the speed has lagged well behind. Springer stole 16 bases over 102 games in 2015, but he’s managed just 20 steals over the last three seasons combined and has been caught 21 times over that stretch.
Are things about to change for Springer in the speed department? It sounds like he hopes so.
After losing 12 pounds over the offseason, the 29-year-old plans to be more aggressive on the basepaths this season. He’s put that plan into action in the early going during Grapefruit League play, going 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts (he also hit his first home run of the spring on Monday).
"I’m already strong enough. I don’t need to come into camp at 235 pounds," Springer said. "I need to be able to run, do what Skip wants me to do day in and day out. I just think that my body feels good at this weight."
We often hear proclamations like this in spring training and seemingly more times than not nothing comes of them, so Springer’s words need to be taken with a grain of salt. Remember, he bats at the top of the Astros’ order, directly ahead of Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve. He can’t be running into outs with those guys at the plate.
That said, if the desire to run more with Springer is truly there and he is given the green light, it’s certainly within his skill set to pile up more stolen bases. File this one in the “intriguing development” category.
Urias Draws “Oohs” and “Aahs”
The line – one run allowed over two innings – was fairly nondescript. The most important number, though, was 98. As in 98 mph.
A former top pitching prospect in all of baseball, Urias’ future appeared cloudy after he had anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder in June of 2017. It’s the same operation that effectively ended Johan Santana’s career.
However, Urias returned from a long rehab to pitch well down the stretch last season, striking out 26 over 15 2/3 innings between the majors and minors and earning a spot on the Dodgers’ NLCS and World Series rosters. His stuff seemed to be all the way back and he’s backed it up this spring.
Last week, manager Dave Roberts said that “the door’s open” for Urias to make the team’s Opening Day rotation. His odds seemingly increased when Roberts admitted Monday that Clayton Kershaw (shoulder) might not be ready for Opening Day.
However, remember that Urias threw just 22 innings in 2018 and 54 2/3 frames in 2017. His career-high workload – coming in 2016 – is 122 innings. The Dodgers are going to be careful with the 22-year-old, and that might involve slow-playing him at the beginning of the season.
Quick Hits: Travis Jankowski is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a fractured left wrist. … C.J. Cron homered twice off of Dylan Bundy on Monday. … Kevin Gausman (shoulder) is on track to make his spring debut later this week … Pete Alonso homered and doubled Monday as the Mets beat the Astros. … Alex Bregman went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer Monday versus the Mets. … Sonny Gray (elbow) is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday. … Dustin Pedroia (knee) is likely on track to make his spring debut on Thursday or Friday. … Jeff Samardzija allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings in a Cactus League start Monday versus the Dodgers. … Jimmy Nelson (shoulder) had no issues while throwing 20 pitches in a live batting practice session on Monday. … Tanner Roark tossed three scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks on Monday. … Joey Lucchesi spun three scoreless innings in his second Cactus League start Monday versus the Indians. … Shane Bieber struck out four batters over three innings of one-run ball Monday in a Cactus League start against the Padres. … Renato Nunez hit a grand slam as the Orioles topped the Twins on Monday. … Mikie Mahtook hit a pair of solo homers Monday against the Cardinals. … David Hess threw three perfect frames on Monday versus the Twins. … An MRI revealed that Justin Miller has a muscle strain in his lower back.