Whoa! This makes installment number five of the ODC, as teams are 25 games into the 2017 season already. This week we will take a look at couple of players whose teams are in surprising spots in the standings. First up will be Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Lewis Brinson, who could be patrolling center field at Miller Park very soon. In the two hole, is Minnesota Twins hurler Jose Berrios, who got a taste of the Bigs in 2016, but failed to live up to the challenge.
When a team is willing to give Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to get you in return, it speaks volumes to just how high your ceiling is. Brinson found himself heading north to Milwaukee at the 2016 trade deadline, as the Rangers were gearing up for a playoff run. At age 22, the outfielder is in his sixth season as a pro, and has hit at each level. Currently, he sits at Triple – A, where his slash line is .381/.417/.597 in 199 plate appearances. For a top prospect to post his best numbers at the highest level speaks to the true talent he possesses. So far in 2017, Brinson has a .355/.391/.581 line, with three home runs, 11 RBI, and three stolen bases. As Brinson has matured as a hitter, his strikeout numbers regressed from Single – A to Double -A, but increased a bit in his promotion to Triple -A. So far in 2017, his strikeout percentage sits at 24.6%, which is up two percent from last season. He finds himself with 17 K’s thus far in 69 plate appearances, and if there was a knock on his game this season, this is it. The youngster profiles as a dream center field prospect, as his power, speed, and fielding grade out as the most impressive parts of his game. The speed not only makes him a threat for 30 steals, but also allows him to make difficult plays in center field look routine. With the Brewers currently right there with the Cubs in the NL central, Brinson could be a key part of their run if they can keep pace with the champs. The Cubs will eventually start hitting like they are capable of, so the question is can the Brew Crew stay in the hunt when the Cubbies finally mash the gas pedal? With Keon Broxton and Hernan Perez currently patrolling center in Milwaukee, Brinson will not be denied much longer. Put him on your watch list NOW!
Any pitcher with a 3-7 record, an 8.02 ERA, and a 1.87 ERA is hardly a guy to be excited about. Berrios’ 14 Major League starts did not go according to plan at the end of 2016. In contrast, his 2017 numbers make a strong argument that the youngster can be an ace. With a 1.09 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings, paired with the struggles of Kyle Gibson (8.06 ERA) and Phil Hughes (5.06 ERA) at the backend of the rotation, Berrios will be back in The Show shortly. The Twins are in need of a fifth starter for the first time this season on May 6th, and there is no reason to believe they would not hand the ball to Berrios. With career Triple – A totals of an 18-8 record, a 2.54 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP, there is not much else for him to do in the Minors. He has proven to have solid command of his breaking pitches, and has shown a fastball that can hit 95 on the gun as well. The Twins currently sit just a game back of the Indians in the division, and while the Twins can bring Berrios along slowly, he could be a key piece of a surprise run, much like the aforementioned Lewis Brinson. Berrios is a guy to add if you have the space, especially since he figures to be the starter on May 6th, and figures to get an extended look after making Triple – A hitters look silly so far in 2017.