I usually have at least a small position in every prospect I recommend as a buy. In the past I have usually found 1 or 2 guys each year that I load up on. Last year it was Javier Baez, for this year my absolute favorite buy is Lewis Brinson. . However, he doesn’t fit in the same risk/reward profile as Baez but his cards are much cheaper as well.I think he is hands down, the best buy in the 2012 Bowman Draft release As of posting time Brinson Base Auto’s were going for $15, 3 weeks ago they could be had at $10. It seems the market is starting to get a sense of this guy’s upside but the prices don’t fully reflect it yet. I personally own about 20 Brinson’s including a Purple Auto and plan to keep buying more. The big question is why? Tools baby, Tools!
Brinson is a verifiable tool shed. Prior to the 2012 draft many national guys verified his huge athletic gifts, but weren’t sure about his polish. See Lewis Brinson draft video.Fast forward to short season ball and Brinson was already making adjustments, showing polish that others believed he lacked at draft time. Jason Park’s of Baseball Prospectus wrote on September 10, 2012 regarding Memorable Prospect Debuts,
“Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers (short-season AZL Rangers)
A few months ago, I wrote an article about raw athletes trying to develop into baseball players, most notably the players who have the physical gifts but lack instincts or feel for the game. At the time, Lewis Brinson was seen by many as this type of player: crazy raw tools with a heavy emphasis on the raw. Whether the misdiagnosed feel was a product of the showcase circuit or just small samples doesn’t matter, as Brinson showed up to professional ball looking very much like a baseball player. A true five-tool talent, Brinson has plus run, plus projections at a premium defensive position, plus raw power [potential], and the hit tool that was supposed to be woefully underdeveloped was much better than expected. Brinson has a lot of work to do, as the swing has a lot of miss, but he also created a lot of hard contact, leading the AZL in extra-base hits with 36. Not bad for an 18-year-old that many thought was a first-round reach based on his lack of feel for the game.—Jason Parks
At that point, Brinson could be gobbled up around $8-$9 for his base cards. What happened, well Brinson didn’t land in the top 100 in many of the top prospect lists, but he did get mentioned in the Guru’s (Keith Law) sleeper prospects for the Rangers system on Feb 6th, Law stated (article)
“I was blown away by the changes Lewis Brinson made to his swing over the summer, setting up his hands a little lower and further back while shortening his stride, significantly improving his bat speed through the zone without any loss of power.”
And two weeks later Brinson is trading for $5 higher. I think it just goes to show you the power of ESPN on these prospects. ESPN and Keith Law are mainstream media. Fortunately, for us prospectors, Baseball America, John Sickels, Fan Graphs, Baseball Prospectus…etc are really just followed by the baseball nerds. Once a prospect hits Sportscenter his prices will pop…..just wait for Xander this year and sell sell sell him when he does.
Sorry for the tangent, the bottom line on Brinson is his tools were never in question. Rangers scouts were rumored as saying he had 1.1 upside, as in first round first pick upside. If you match those type of tools with the ability to make adjustments he has shown already, work ethic, and a little time and you have BJ Upton. Even if Brinson tops out as Cameron Maybin or even Chris Johnson his rise up prospect lists will be rocket powered and his prices will follow. Agreed, Brinson is no Baez when it comes to his floor or risk level….but at $15 base price I still can’t get my hands on enough. The upside is a top 10 positon prospect, playing a good defensive CF only lowers his offensive requirements to reach it. I am loading up on Lewis. Its much more of a roll of the dice than my normal super buy guys but the profits could be crazy.