Whenever he was given a school assignment asking him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Lewis Brinson always wrote that his dream was to play for the Marlins.
Give him an A for forward thinking.
On Thursday, Brinson’s boyhood wish came true when the Milwaukee Brewers traded the young outfielder and three other prospects to the Marlins for outfielder Christian Yelich.
“I’m coming home!” Brinson tweeted enthusiastically after the Fort Lauderdale native and former Coral Springs High School standout was dealt to his favorite team.
Brinson, 23, stands to be in the Marlins’ Opening Day lineup.
“I’m super excited to get the opportunity to play for the hometown team,” Brinson said.
There are high expectations for Brinson, who is ranked No. 18 by Baseball America in its list of Top 100 prospects. Of all the prospects that the Marlins have acquired this winter as they systematically traded the top four hitters on Don Mattingly’s lineup card, Brinson is the biggest catch.
The Marlins also received outfielder Monte Harrison, middle infielder Isan Diaz, and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto.
Brinson is the hometown kid and has fond memories of going to Marlins games as a kid.
“Couldn’t wait to go to the game,” Brinson said.
His favorite player: former Marlins center fielder Juan Pierre, a member of their 2003 World Series team. Brinson said he hopes to wear Pierre’s old No. 9. No player on the current roster wears that number, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
“That would be icing on the cake,” Brinson said. “Juan Pierre was my idol playing center field. I would sit in the outfield [at what was then known as Pro Player Stadium] and just watch him. I wouldn’t even watch the game. I would just watch Juan Pierre move out there. He was my guy back then.”
Most of all, Brinson looks forward to helping restore winning baseball to South Florida. The Marlins have suffered through eight consecutive losing seasons and last appeared in the postseason in 2003 when they won the Series.
“Obviously, the Marlins have made a big splash this winter,” Brinson said, referring to the trades of Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. “I’m glad to be a part of it. I can’t wait to bring this organization back to where it once was. I’m excited to be a part of that in the future.”
Brinson said Marlins fans should remain optimistic, as well.
“I think the fans have a lot to be excited for,” he said. “Obviously they’re a little hurt. But I think they’re going to be a little bit surprised to see what we have to offer, with all the young guys. I’m excited, and Marlins fans should be, as well.”
Brinson hopes his mother kept all his school assignments, too.
“Anytime I had to write papers on what you wanted to be when you grew up, mine always was to play Major League Baseball for the Florida Marlins. I got A’s because I poured it out on those papers, on how I’d love to play for the Marlins.”