The Nationals are looking for bodies in their outfield at the moment, given the injuries to Jayson Werth and Michael Morse (among others). That has led to the recall of Corey Brown from Triple-A, who has been scorching hot over the past week. Will he get a chance to play, however? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the former top pick and try to come to a conclusion:
- Supplemental first round pick by the Oakland A’s in 2007 (59th overall)
- Acquired by the Nationals prior to the 2011 season (along with Henry Rodriguez) in exchange for Josh Willingham
- 26-years old
- Left-handed hitter
- Was hitting .297 with 12 HR, 30 RBI, 41 R and 6 SB in 185 AB at Triple-A (International League); he also added 9 doubles and 4 triples, helping him to .584 SLG
- His average at Triple-A came courtesy of a .323 BABIP, so it is believable; if he can continue to make contact he could hit .270+ in the Major Leagues
- Impressed in spring training, hitting .310 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB in 29 AB (he also struck out just twice)
- From May 20-25 he hit a home run in five straight games (his final games played prior to his recall); went 10-23 with 5 HR, 11 RBI and 6 R over the stretch
- Strikeouts have always been a concern, including a 29.0% strikeout rate in 396 AB at Triple-A in 2011; however, he posted an 18.8% strikeout rate thus far in 2012
- He stole 22 bases between two levels in 2010 (534 AB)
- His patience at the plate has been tremendous, with 31 BB this season (14.2% walk rate)
- Was not ranked by Baseball America (Top 10) or mlb.com (Top 20) among Nationals prospects prior to 2012
- Brown has always had a ton of potential as prior to the 2010 season Baseball America said, “Brown has always tantalized the A’s with his physical tools, and he began to show a more mature approach last season. He shortened his stroke last year, began using the opposite field more consistently and developed a better two-strike gameplan. He has a smooth swing with leverage that generates power to all fields, and he hit three homers in seven games in his brief return to Sacramento at the end of the season. Strikeouts remain an issue, and he has a tendency to pull off balls against lefthanders. Brown has solid speed that serves him well on the bases, and he’s an intelligent runner.”
The quote from Baseball America came over two years ago, but it shows you that he’s been building to this point. While there has been some bumps along the way, he appears to have finally put everything together in 2012 despite the scout and prospect mavens seemingly writing him off.
Is he a lock to contribute? Of course not, but he is clearly firing on all cylinders right now. Without Jayson Werth and Michael Morse, the Nationals have been using players like Rick Ankiel, Steve Lombardozzi, Xavier Nady and Roger Bernadina in the outfield. However, despite how hot Brown was at Triple-A and the mix-and-match game the Nationals are playing with their outfield, it appears that they view Brown as nothing more than a bench player for the time being.
Does he have potential to force himself into the lineup? Maybe, but only time will tell. For now, he’s more of a player just to keep an eye on and nothing more.