Let's Go Tribe is putting together its own ranking of the top Indians prospects, with readers voting on each entry. Here are the previous entries in the series:
- Francisco Lindor
- Clint Frazier
- Bradley Zimmer
- Giovanny Urshela
- Francisco Mejia
- Tyler Naquin
- Bobby Bradley
- James Ramsey
- Justus Sheffield
- Erik Gonzalez
- Mike Papi
- Mitch Brown 44%
- Luis Lugo 7%
- Yu Cheng Chang 12%
- Jesus Aguilar 25%
- Shawn Morimando 1%
- Ryan Merritt 4%
- Carlos Moncrief 8%
(Here is Brown's Baseball-Reference page and here is his FanGraphs page)
Brown was the Tribe's 2nd round pick in 2012; a high school pitcher from Minnesota, Brown wasn't your typical high draft pick, geographically speaking. Brown split 2013 between rookie ball and Lake County (Low-A), and struggled in both places, with an ERA of 6.78 and a WHIP of 1.74. He also missed seven weeks with a shoulder strain. Brown was sent to Lake County again for 2014; he is only 20 years old, so there was nothing wrong with spending a full season at that level.
During the first two months of the season, Brown struggled. Through 12 starts he'd given up more than a hit an inning and was walking nearly 6 batters per 9 innings. All in all his numbers to that point were pretty similar to what they'd been in 2013.
On June 10 Brown tossed five shutout innings, the first time he'd gotten through a start without allowing any runs all year. From that point on (a stretch of 15 starts), Brown posted a 2.23 ERA, with more than a strikeout per inning, and only 2.25 walks per 9 innings.
Looking at only Brown's final eight starts of the year, the results were even better: A 0.99 ERA, 50 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 45.2 innings, with only 2 home runs allowed.
How much stock do you put in just 8 starts, or even in 15? With an established MLB veteran, maybe not much. With a 20-year-old prospect, it seems more reasonable to put a little more stock in their most recent results. By the time that stretch began, Brown had extra months of coaching, extra months of facing hitters who weren't high school kids, and extra months of developing his pitches. That isn't to say we should just ignore his earlier struggles, but I think it's reasonable to think Brown might have rediscovered the success that made him a 2nd round pick.
Brown throws a low 90s fastball and a has a strong curveball. I think his strong showing for the final three months of the 2014 season mean he can expect a promotion to High-A Lynchburg for the start of 2015.
Who do you think should be the #13 Indians prospect?
Remember to also let us know in the comments which player you think should join the voting next.