Brewers name Lewis Brinson, Corbin Burnes minor leaguers of the year
As the Brewers prepare to play the Miami Marlins in a Hurricane Irma-relocated series at Miller Park this weekend, which could have major implications on the present National League playoff race, the club on Friday announced some news about players it hopes will feature prominently into Milwaukee's baseball future.
The Brewers named Lewis Brinson and Corbin Burnes their 2017 minor-league player and pitcher of the year, respectively, the recipients of the organization's annual Robin Yount Performance Awards. Brinson, a 23-year-old outfielder, split time with Triple-A Colorado Springs and made his MLB debut with Milwaukee in June. Burnes, a 22-year-old right-hander, began the year at Class-A Carolina and finished with Double-A Biloxi.
Brinson entered 2017 as the Brewers' top prospect, according to Baseball America, and he finished his first full season in the system with a .331/.400/.562 slash line in 76 games for the Sky Sox. He scored 66 runs, hit 13 homers and 22 doubles, had 48 RBI and 11 steals and compiled a .960 fielding percentage. He represented the Brewers in the 2017 XM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park. The Texas Rangers' 2012 first-round draft pick was acquired, along with right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz and outfielder Ryan Cordell, in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress on Aug. 1, 2016.
On June 11, Milwaukee called up Brinson to the majors, where he appeared in 21 games and batted .106 with two home runs and three RBI. His season was cut short after he suffered a strained left hamstring on Aug. 14.
"There were a number of worthy players who were considered for this award, but Lew put together a phenomenal year," Brewers Farm Director Tom Flanagan said in a statement. "He built upon his impressive debut after joining the organization last year and is very deserving of this honor."
On the pitching side, Burnes went 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 140 strikeouts to just 36 walks over 145.2 total innings. He began the season with the Mudcats and started 10 games for the Class-A club, going 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 56 strikeouts to 16 walks in 60 innings. In 16 starts after being promoted to the Shuckers, the righty went 3-3 with a 2.10 ERA and 84 strikeouts to 20 walks in 85.2 innings. Burnes finished third in Minor League Baseball and first in the organization in overall ERA (1.67); he also led the Brewers' system in starts (26) and WHIP (0.954) and was third in strikeouts (140).
Milwaukee's fourth-round selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Mary's College of California, Burnes was awarded Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors for both May (4-0 record, 0.55 ERA) and June (2-1, 1.53)
"Corbin's first full professional season was nothing short of sensational," Flanagan said. "He was dominant at both Carolina and Biloxi, and he very much earned this award."
Last season, infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Brandon Woodruff were named the Brewers' player and pitcher of the year. Diaz had spent all of 2016 with Class-A Wisconsin, and this year hit .222/.334/.376 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI in 110 games at High Class A-Carolina. For his part, the fast-advancing Woodruff, who began 2016 at Class-A and finished at Double-A Biloxi, spent most of this season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, before being called up to Milwaukee, where he went 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA in five starts.
Look for Brinson to be in the Brewers' big-league camp at spring training next year, with a good shot of making the team. Burnes will likely start out at Double-A Biloxi, but could be promoted quickly if he shows the same stuff he did this season.
Brinson and Burnes will be presented with their awards in a pregame ceremony on Sept. 26 at Miller Park before the Brewers face the Reds.
Milwaukee's relocated series against Miami begins Friday night, with limited tickets available for the three-game set and a 25 percent discount off concessions all weekend as a thank-you to fans. The 77-69 Brewers are three games behind the Cubs in the NL Central division and 2.5 games back from the Rockies in the Wild Card race.
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