Brewers pick up Brinson, Ortiz from Rangers

Texas sends its No. 2, 3 prospects to Milwaukee for Lucroy, Jeffress

Lewis Brinson has stolen 81 bases during five seasons in the Minor Leagues. (Shane Roper/

By Sam Dykstra / | August 1, 2016 5:05 PM

When it comes to prospect additions, the Brewers might be Monday's big winners.

The Brewers acquired top-100 prospects Lewis Brinson (No. 21) and Luis Ortiz (No. 63) from the Rangers just ahead of Monday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline in a deal that sent catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers. Brinson and Ortiz were ranked as the No. 2 and 3 prospects in the Texas farm system, respectively, at the time of the trade. Earlier in the day, it was announced the Brewers picked up Giants top prospect Phil Bickford in a deal involving reliever Will Smith.

Brinson is hitting .237/.280/.431 with 11 homers, six triples, 14 doubles and 11 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A Frisco. A first-round pick in 2012, the 22-year-old center fielder was coming off a breakout 2015 in which he slashed .332/.403/.601 with 59 extra-base hits and 18 steals across three levels but hasn't been able to reproduce those numbers during his second trip to the Texas League in 2016.

However, he has seen his strikeout rate drop some to 19.9 percent, while a relatively low .260 BABIP might speak to the lower slash-line numbers. Brinson still has time on his side, given he just turned 22 in May, and provides plenty of value as a defender in center field. He should form an exciting outfield duo at Double-A Biloxi with Brett Phillips, who checks in at No. 76 in's ranking.

Ortiz had climbed to the Texas League in his age-20 season after starting the season with a 2.60 ERA and 28 strikeouts in seven appearances (six starts) at Class A Advanced High Desert. The right-hander owned a 4.08 ERA with 34 punchouts in 39 2/3 innings at Frisco. He had just come off the disabled list Friday following a groin injury. That said, his 67 1/3 frames between the two spots already represent a career high.

Ortiz has been lauded for his plus fastball and slider, and he has a solid enough changeup to keep hitters honest. He's impressed with his control in the past, and that's been no different in 2016 with a 1.7 BB/9. The 2014 first-rounder hasn't been pushed from an innings standpoint due to injuries, and that will bear watching as he transitions to the Brewers system, especially during his first full season with Milwaukee in 2017 following an offseason of preparation.

Lucroy is easily the center piece of the deal from a Major League standpoint. The two-time All-Star is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game and was hitting .299/.359/.482 with 13 homers in 95 games for the Brewers. The Rangers will own a $5.25 million team option for his 2017 season. Lucroy was nearly dealt to the Indians but chose to turn down the deal via his no-trade clause.

Jeffress should help out the Rangers in the bullpen during their hunt for an American League playoff spot. The 28-year-old right-hander earned 27 saves and owned a 2.22 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings with Milwaukee before the trade.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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