CT Scouting Report: RHP,

Going into the 2001 collegiate season, USC's Mark Prior was the undisputed top-rated pitcher in the country. A year later in 2002 season, it was Rutgers hurler Bobby Brownlie who was the nation's top-ranked college pitcher. As fate would have it, the Cubs ended up with both.

While Prior only avoided being the first pick in the draft because the Minnesota Twins could not afford the cost of signing him, Brownlie dropped from his position as the likely #1 pick to 21st overall in the '02 draft after elbow tendonitis gave him problems in his final year at Rutgers. After going 16-4 with a 2.46 ERA in his first two seasons, he dropped to 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA in his Junior year.

After the Cubs took a risk on drafting him that early, they then had to go through the process of signing him. There was major concern that if Brownlie did not get his asking price, he would return to Rutgers for his Senior season. However, in January, the decision was made not return to Rutgers, as Brownlie and agent Scott Boras finally signed with the team in March.

Brownlie's health was the major reason he dropped as far as he did in the draft. But after signing and going through an extended spring training, the 23-year-old went to High-A Daytona and pitched very well in 13 starts, going 5-4 with an even 3.00 ERA.

During a four-week stretch from late May through late June, Brownlie was phenomenal, giving up only two earned runs in 30 innings. That stretch concluded with a one-hit shutout against the Vero Beach Dodgers on June 22 that saw him come within one pitch of a no-hitter.

Afterward, Brownlie wasn't the same pitcher. Three weeks later, the Cubs would shut him down for the season after he was diagnosed with a dead arm. While there was concern that it was a replay of his last season at Rutgers, no damage was found in regards to his arm, which could be attributed to his starting spring training in January, a full two months earlier than other players, thus ending his season two months earlier than most.































Don't gag; Brownlie draws comparisons to a young Matt Morris. (Photo/Getty).
Repertoire: Fastball, curveball, changeup.

Fastball: His fastball, while usually in the low-90's, topped out at an eye-popping 97 MPH while at Rutgers. If, as expected, his arm is at 100% in 2004, look for it to return to this speed.

Changeup: His changeup, like most young pitchers, needs work, as it's too distinguishable from his fastball right now. Given some time in a Cubs system that is getting very good at handling young pitchers, he should be able to make it a another good pitch.

Curveball: Not only is the curve Brownlie's best pitch, it has been described as the best breaking pitch in the entire Cubs system. It's thrown as a 12-to-6 curve and, just like his fastball, tops out at 97 MPH when healthy, virtually unheard of for a curveball.

Projection: Best case scenario is that Brownlie could be the Cubs' No. 2 pitcher behind Prior and a No. 1 on most teams. Even if he can't get his numbers back up to what they were at Rutgers, Brownlie still would likely have No. 3 or No. 4 stuff.

Keys: First key is to stay healthy. There's no reason to think he won't. There is no known damage to his arm, and his problems last year were simply a matter of starting training two months early. So long as he stays healthy, Brownlie needs to get his velocity back up to his collegiate levels. Improving his changeup also needs to be on his "to do" list.

ETA: With a good year, Brownlie could find his way to the big leagues as a September call-up. More likely, though, he'll compete for a starting job in 2005.

MLB Clone: Matt Morris.


Had his arm held up throughout the season, Brownlie would likely have finished the season at AA-West Tennessee. That is where he should start 2004, but he could very well make his way up to Iowa and maybe even Wrigley Field by season's end.

His arm is said to be fully recovered, and by starting his season in the spring instead of January, Brownlie should be over any dead arm problems, especially in his second season with the longer professional schedule.

If he can remain healthy, Bobby Brownlie has the potential to be one of the biggest stars to come out of the Cubs system and could prove to be one of the biggest steals of all-time after dropping to the 21st pick.
Richard Siegel joined the staff of CubsTalk.com in September. Click here to send Rich an e-mail.

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Related Links:

Bobby Brownlie Player Page
Prospect Preview: Bobby Brownlie -- Mar. 8, 2003
Brownlie Finally A Cub -- Mar. 2, 2003

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