I shouldn't even be writing this one. It's probably not worth your time. There are few people who have even heard of Brett Brown outside Southeast Texas. But, this is one area where my day job and this job will cross.
Brett Brown is a strikeout machine. The first time I saw him, it was in a playoff game, in his first-ever varsity start in the first round of the playoffs. Brown struck out 17, mixing a decent fastball in with an absolutely brutal slider he was able to throw consistently down and away.
It absolutely ate hitters up. Coming into this season, though, Brown didn't even know if he'd be a starter for the Bulldogs. He thought he might be sent back to his closer role, which he inhabited for much of the previous season.
Brown stuck in the rotation, and preceded to strike out 164 batters in 13 starts this season. I don't have the exact inning count for him, but I think it was around 85 IP for the season. That's pretty good.
The secret for Brown is that slider, which he picked up halfway through his junior season and refined last year. With it, he was able to pick and choose where to throw his 12-6 curve that is also a good pitch. He's got good control of his fastball and understands how to pitch, working hitters and not giving them anything decent to swing at.
In short, he's got that pitcher's thing instead of being just a thrower. I like all those things about him, and I love his potential down the road.
The problem is Brown isn't tall. If I had to guess, I'd say he's about 5-foot-11, but that might be generous. If you know anything at all about baseball scouting, you can guess why's not on anyone's lists. Add in his late start to his career and there's a good chance he'll go to college before popping on anyone's radar.
I could see him pitching at Lamar, doing well there and then getting picked in a middle round in three years. But, man, with a guy can consistently miss bats, why wait? Why not take a chance on him now?
High school arms, especially ones who throw sliders, will not last. You're looking at a pretty significant injury risk. Plus, Brown's sort of a max-effort thrower on his motion, so you've got another injury strike against him. Given all that, I bet he's got a pretty low floor and there's a chance he never makes it past Low A ball. Colton Pitkin only barely did.
Here's the other problem. With his skillset, I see his best value down the road to be in the bullpen. He could definitely be a late-inning arm with that slider-curve-fastball combo. He doesn't throw in the mid-90's, but I don't think you limit him to that. Let him grow some and gain some strength. He's certainly got the mentality to do it.
Projected Draft Round
I will be surprised if he gets tabbed at all, but it wouldn't shock me for a team to take a flier somewhere around Round 30-40.
Will he sign?
That's the one thing I haven't talked to Brown about. If I had to guess, I bet he stays in school, which lowers his chances of being drafted even lower. If he can finagle a decent bonus, though? One that makes up for that baseball scholarship he'd be losing? Why not sign?
College Commitment: Lamar
Bibliography after the jump
I wish there were more of a bibliography than what I've got. I can link you to some of the articles I've written mentioning Brett over the past year, though: