Acquired: 2nd round, 2012
Service Time: none
When the Indians made Brown their 2nd round pick in 2012, he became the highest-drafted player from Minnesota since Joe Mauer was the #1 overall pick in 2001. Even as a high school pitcher, Brown had already developed three solid pitches (fastball, curveball, and changeup... he's also worked on a slider), and on draft say, he was viewed as someone who could become a #2 or 3 starter in Cleveland eventually.
Brown entered 2013 in the top 10 on most Indians prospect lists, and in the top 5 of many (including Baseball America), putting him ahead of Danny Salazar, which gives you an idea of how highly regarded he's been. Brown began the year at Low-A Lake County, and his season got off on the wrong foot when he didn't even survive the 1st inning of his first start. He made five starts during the season's opening three weeks, the best of them probably being a 4-inning outing in which he gave up 4 hits and walked 4 as well. In short, things were not going well. He was put on the DL, and didn't pitch again until late June, in the Arizona Summer League, where he spent the rest of the season.
Brown did better and better there as the summer went on, peaking with 6 shutout innings with 5 strikeouts and only 4 base runners allowed on August 6. His success that month was relative though, better than he'd been earlier in the year, but still posting a 4.50 ERA with 15 walks in 24 innings. It can be a mistake to read too much into minor league pitching stats, because a guy may be working on a new delivery, or testing out new pitch sequences, etc. That said, a 2nd round pick ending his second season of professional baseball in rookie ball and posting so-so good numbers doesn't seem like a sign that a prospect's development is going as well as we might have hoped
A year ago, Brown was viewed by many as the best pitcher in the Indians' entire farm system. When new prospect lists begin coming out after the end of the World Series, I expect we'll see more modest ratings for Brown. He's only 19 years old, so there's plenty of time for him to develop into a solid Major Leaguer, but he seems no closer to Cleveland than on the day he was drafted.