BLUF: Impact up the middle player that could contend for batting and stolen base titles.
The Player: Gary Brown (OF, San Francisco Giants) – The Giants first round pick in 2010 out of Cal State Fullerton, Brown had no trouble hitting in his full-season debut in 2011. Pushed to High-A San Jose, Brown destroyed the California League with a .336/.407/.519 line that included 34 doubles, 13 triples, 14 home runs and 53 steals.
Body: Not the most physical guy in the world but he is a plus to plus-plus athlete that is much stronger than he looks when you first see him. Good awareness of his body in space and moves well in all phases of the game.
Makeup: There have been no concerns throughout his amateur or pro careers. He comes in every day and gets his work done, frequently earning the moniker of a “baseball rat” from scouts. He plays the game hard and leaves it all on the field.
Hit: Feel for the bat. Has ability to adjust mid-swing and make contact even when fooled by pitches. Has plus bat speed and can catch up to good fastballs. His swing is simple and quick, getting the barrel to the zone in tremendous time with consistent mechanics. Innate feel for hitting with potential to hit well over .300 and possibly contend for batting titles. Grade – 60/80
Power: Biggest question mark in his game. Has bat speed to drive ball to the gaps with ease. Swing isn’t designed for home run power, lacks loft and leverage but bat speed and natural wrist/forearm strength allows him to put a charge in it and get the ball out. Could hit 30+ doubles with 12-15 home runs annually at his peak. Grade (raw power) – 40/40
Arm: Doesn’t wow you but can make all the throws from center field and never looks out of place. Gets rid of the ball quickly which helps his arm play up. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Advanced instincts for the game. Reads the ball well off the bat, gets good jump and takes the proper route nearly all the time. Rarely out of position and even when he makes a mistake he has the speed to compensate and still make the play. Needs to get better coming in on the ball hit directly at him. Potential highlight reel defender. Grade – 60/70
Speed: Elite runner that easily grades out at the top of the scale. Should maintain speed long term. Has instincts to use speed in the outfield and on the bases. Could steal 40-50 bases annually. Grade – 80/80
Summation: Prototypical center fielder with speed and hitting ability. Has a chance to contend for batting average titles, stolen base titles and Gold Gloves on an annual basis. Some scouts would like to see him work counts more consistently at the top of the order but his natural hitting ability is so advanced, he hasn’t needed to. May need to adjust approach some at Double-A and higher. Power ceiling may not reach average but his game will still have impact without significant power development. Potential difference maker up the middle and at the top of the lineup.
Relative Risk: Low. Broad skill set allows him to contribute every day. Profile doesn’t rely on projection and he could move quickly through the upper levels of the minor leagues.
Future: The Giants will send Brown to Double-A to start the 2012 season and he could see Triple-A before the year concludes. He is the center fielder of the future in San Francisco and he has the potential to be the face of the offense that ultimately supports the Giants always stingy pitching staff.