Diamonds in Single A: Matt Brown
Matt Brown was a 13th round selection of the Indians out of Wichita State in 2007. He has made a steady climb through the system, first in short-season Single A, then Low A, and now this year in High A. Last season he was far and away the most reliable bat at Lake County and really turned some heads, which helped place him on the prospect radar.
Year LVL OBP 2B HR BB/SO PA/SO SLG OPS
2007 A SS .325 14 0 .61 6.24 .339 .665
2008 Low A .356 24 8 .56 7.98 .432 .789
Before I go into any analysis, I have to come clean and say I use a template for entering the data that I look at in depth. It does make writing easier but it also allows for comparing data, and Brown actually has a great comparison stat wise. His numbers in Low A - .356/.432/.789 - are near identical to the first hitter I profiled, Matt McBride, who at the same stage at the same level hit .348/.432./.780. It was both players’ second season out of college after a year at short-season Single A ball. They even hit the same number of home runs that year, though McBride had a lot more doubles. After that season, McBride’s stock was extremely high, thanks partly to his being a year younger and a catcher, but one would think that Brown’s stock would have taken a similar jump.
While Brown’s stock jumped up quite a bit he still was not in anyone’s top 30. This might be caused by the walk rate that Brown has where at .56 it means he is striking out twice for every walk, but this is balanced out by the jump he took in his plate appearance to strike out rate. His OPS took a noticeable jump in his second year, and I think this was mostly thanks to cutting down his PA/SO rate by 1.74. When you combine the two aforementioned stats we can see that Brown is striking out less but also walking less at a near identical rate. In an ideal world, the walks would stay the same and the strike outs drop, but most of the time they are tied together. Plate discipline seems to be the only thing that might be holding Brown back from being considered in the top 30 prospect range.
Age is also a concern for Brown, and right now he is trapped behind some supremely talented players. If he continues to produce, however, the Indians will find a place for Brown who looks like a very possible future major league baseball player. For better or worse, I think the comp for a player like Brown might be that of current Indians outfielder David Dellucci. That is, a good right fielder whose best served in a platoon in the majors.