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School: Pepperdine; Class: Junior
Position: RF/LHP; B/T: L/L
Height: 6-1; Weight: 222 pounds
Previously Drafted: Pittsburgh Pirates, 17th round, 2011; Cleveland Indians, 30th round, 2013
Background: In the running for top two-way player of the year with Kentucky’s A.J. Reed. Pepperdine’s power-hitting right fielder, and arguably their best pitcher, has paced the club in several categories on both sides of the ball this season, including triples (3), homeruns (12), slugging percentage (.562) and OPS (.922), as well as wins (11) and strikeouts (96).
The twice-drafted Brown is also a two-time member of the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League, though his production on the mound (50 K’s and 20 BB’s in a combined 51 innings) greatly outweighs his numbers in the batter’s box (a .143 batting average).
Projection: A very intriguing prospect because he offers some upside on both sides of the ball, though each comes with at least a significant flaw or two.
As a hitter, Brown flashes above-average power, something that the big leagues are in dire need of now. Pepperdine’s home field, Eddy D. Field Stadium, is basically a pure neutral ballpark. Meaning: it favors neither the hitters nor pitchers, making it the ideal place to evaluate prospects. So the fact that he’s slugged .551 over the last season-plus suggests that the power is real.
Now the bad news: Brown owns some of the worst plate discipline at the collegiate level; he’s sporting a career strikeout to walk ratio of 92-to-15 and this season, his most extensive action at the plate, he’s walked 3.3% of his plate appearances.
Obviously, given his lack of overall experience as a hitter (420 PA) it wouldn’t be out of the question to see his plate discipline spike a little in the coming years, though not enough to push it north of below-average.
As a pitcher, Brown is still developing. His arm is relatively fresh considering that he’s thrown just 174 innings for Pepperdine in his career. Plus, he’s proven for parts of two seasons (both his action in the Cape and with Pepperdine this year) that he can generate enough swings-and-misses. The control, however, has wavered at times so is this season’s development (3.04 BB/9) a tangible step forward? Possibly.
Overall, Brown profiles as a Quad-A-type hitter, offering plenty of power and very little of anything else. On the mound, though, he looks like a potential backend starting pitcher, perhaps peaking as a fringe #4 in a couple years, and nothing worse than a middle reliever.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player (starter); 0.5-win player (reliever); 0.5-win player (hitter)
Floor: 0.5- to 1.0-win player (starter);Replacement Level (reliever); Replacement Level (reliever)
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate
Draft Projection: Third/Fourth Round
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