A few surprises in the list of Non-tendered players

On Tuesday night, each of 30 MLB teams decided which players on their 40-man roster (with fewer than six years of service time) were not going to be offered contracts.

As always, there were some surprising names among the list of DFA’d players. Hopefully, they will quickly get another opportunity with a different organisation. I have followed some of these guys since the minors, and my stereotypical Britishness means that I want the underdog to succeed.

Possibly the most surprising name (at least to non-Marlins fans) on the non-tendered list is…

Lewis Brinson

Drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Texas Rangers, Brinson was MLB’s Top-10 hitting prospect after destroying three levels of the minors in 2015 with 20 homers, 18 stolen bases and .332 batting average. Superstardom beckoned.

He featured in two high-profile trades. Once moving from the Rangers to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy deal, and most memorably as the key piece in the trade that saw future MVP, Christian Yelich leave Miami.

At the Major League level, Brinson has struggled in a way that reminds you just how difficult the game is. Over the course of 1,111 plate appearances covering five partial years, the outfielder has a 54 OPS+ (100 is average).

To put it another way, in 341 big league appearances, Brinson has a triple slash of .199/.238/.323.

However, for a 15-game stretch in the summer of 2021, Brinson was one of the best players in the league.


Watch out for the 27-year-old to rebuild his career when the weight of expectancy is removed. Don’t be surprised if a change of scenery or perhaps more of a platoon role to protect him against tough righties gives immediate results.

Brinson remains a toolsy player with speed to burn. And he is only 27 years old. You have not heard the last of Brinsanity.

Baseball Savant likes certain aspects of Brinson’s play

Other notable non-tendered players include:

The Pirates non-tendered two pitchers that I like in Steven Brault and Chad Kuhl. With the shortage of starting pitching, both guys will find new jobs. In 2020, Brault made 11 starts with 3.32 ERA. Even if that flattered him, his FIP was still sub-4.00. Kuhl, the Pirates 2021 Opening Day starter, tossed 313 innings for a 4.30 FIP at the start of his career before Tommy John surgery wiped out 2019.

Michael Hermosillo was surprisingly designated for assignment by the Cubs. The 26-year-old has never received a fair shot in the majors yet hit .306 with 1.038 OPS in Triple-A last season. He seems too good for a rebuilding team like the Cubs to let go.

As a pinch-hitter/pinch-runner, José Rondón hit over .300 in September with .968 OPS for the St Louis Cardinals. His positional flexibility saw the 26-year-old play first, second, third, left field and right field.

Daniel Vogelbach‘s tenure with the Milwaukee Brewers has come to an end, partly due to the success of Rowdy Tellez, winner of the Bat Flips and Nerds Nicest Face in MLB award. Vogelbach’s destiny seems as a designated hitter, so any change to the league format could help the 28-year-old. How many other non-tendered players on the list had a 30-homer season as recently as 2019? Probably none.

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