All hitters ranked by a minimum of 100 plate appearances.
Gary Brown is…
* 8th in the California League in batting average (.367)
* 7th in the California League in on-base percentage (.445)
* 18th in the California League in slugging percentage (.513)
* 1st (tied) in the California League in stolen bases (22 swipes)
* 1st in the California League in caught stealing (10)
* 49th in the California League by walk-rate (8.1%)
* 9th in the California League by wRC+ (149)
* 7th in the California League by BABIP (.418)
And if that’s not enough, this video of a recent Gary Brown game is exciting. You can see from the video that the Giants have calmed down his happy feet in the batter’s box some. Brown makes a couple of misplays in CF, but it’s easy to see him being a pretty good defender with more time and experience.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that “I’ve come around on him [Brown] more than any other prospect in the system right now.”, and I’m still enjoying his successful start in high-A baseball. Brown’s style of play revolves, as it should, around hitting the ball in play and running like mad. His walk-rate is slightly below average for the California League, but it’s encouraging — or maybe a matter of low expectations — that he’s not way, way below average. His contact skills are what’s going to take him to the majors, in addition to his defense and baserunning, and it’s good to see him getting the bat on the ball so much. If he can post a modest walk-rate as he climbs the minor league ladder, he’s a nice bet to have some sort of career in the majors.
Guys like Endy Chavez have made a good living by boasting good-to-great contact rates, good defense, and good baserunning. You might be disappointed in a Chavez comparison, but still, it’s undeniable that Chavez played in 829 games in the major leagues because of his tools.
Right now, like most prospects, Gary Brown is a bundle of potential mixed in with some risks. In the early going of the season, if I had to rank him among current prospects in the system, I’d probably place him squarely at #2. Zack Wheeler is a better prospect right now, but Brown should make the majors first, and that should count for something. It’s not too hard to dream up an outfield in which both Gary Brown and Andres Torres are playing at the same time. For Giants’ pitchers, that’s a beautiful, flyball killing dream.