At 6-5, 205 pounds, Brown is an exceptional athlete. In fact, Brown had a full scholarship to play WR for “The U,” but academic issues stood in his way, and Brown decided to pursue professional baseball. I know, who would have thought academics would be an obstacle to playing football for the Miami Hurricanes?
Well, Brown has turned into one of the best outfield prospects in the game. The most impressive aspect of Brown’s development is that he has improved in different areas each year. Last year, Brown had a .291 BA, nine HRs, .417 SLG, and 22 SBs for Low-A. The numbers didn’t have “star quality” on their face. However, Brown developed plate discipline in 2008 with a .89 BB/K rate and .382 OBP. As I always preach, plate discipline is a key building block for most fantasy hitting prospects. You can’t shatter the maple in the bigs until you understand the zone; take that to bed with you.
In 2009, Brown added power to the mix. Across three levels, Brown hit .299, with 14 HRs, a .504 SLG, and 23 SBs. Brown maintained his plate patience at High-A (.71 BB/K rate) and dominated the lower level with a .303 BA, 11 HRs, and .517 SLG in 238 ABs. Unfortunately, Brown lost his patience at Double-A (.38 BB/K rate) and his numbers dipped: .279 BA, three HRs, and a .456 SLG in 147 ABs. Was it a coincidence that his numbers took a hit when he became immune to walks? I think not.
Brown has often been compared to Darryl Strawberry because his build, upside and batting style (high-left elbow) as a left-handed power hitter. Hmm, I am partially on board with this comparison. Brown may never have Straw’s power, but he does have the ability to hit 25-33 HRs per year with “The Bank” as his home park. Further, Brown has the wheels to steal 25-30 SBs like Strawberry did in his prime. However, unlike the former Mets superstar who hit .259 in his career, Brown has the hitting ability to be a perennial .285 to .295 hitter. Yep, he’s a sick talent.
As a fantasy prospect speculator, you have to be all over a kid with tools like Brown. Whether Brown becomes slightly-above average fantasy OF, or a star fantasy slugger, depends entirely on his pitch recognition/selectivity at the big league level. Trust me, if Brown stays true to a patient approach he will be a stud because it will mean he’s hitting his pitch and getting on base to swipe precious bags for fantasy owners.
This is a dude to stash away in your keeper leagues if you’re looking for prospect with top-notch speed/power and the ability to hit for average. Umm, who isn’t? Brown will arrive in 2011 and take Raul Ibanez or Jayson Werth’s spot in the Phillies OF.