The jump from short-season to the California League hasn’t been an easy one for Stockton Ports’ outfielder Seth Brown, but the Oakland A’s 2015 19th-round pick is keeping everything in perspective.
Brown earned the Vermont Lake Monsters’ MVP award last season when he posted a .289/.356/.431 line in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League. After that performance and a strong showing at the A’s fall Instructional League, Brown jumped from short-season to High-A at the start of his first full season. Thus far, Brown – like many of his Stockton teammates – has had mixed results at the plate. His OBP is strong (.361), but, through Wednesday he was batting only .238 with a .337 SLG.
Brown admits he was pressing at the start of the season.
“I was in a position where they were challenging me and showing faith in me, so I have been coming out here just wanting to do my best everyday,” Brown said on Sunday. “It’s been a bit of an adjustment period for me. As the season is going on, I’m learning more and more everyday when you come out here, regardless of how you do. I’m just trying to get back to being myself instead of trying to push so hard. That’s been the biggest thing for me is remembering that it is still baseball and it’s still a game I love to play.”
Going into Thursday’s game, Brown ranked third in the Cal League in walks with 33. Brown says he has been able to lean on his plate discipline to find a way to produce even when he isn’t swinging the bat at his normal standards.
“It’s something where even if you aren’t doing your best out there and even if you are in a struggle, you want to find a way to produce,” Brown said. “Find something to help the team. Right now, seeing pitches and finding a way to get on base has been the way that I can still produce. I can get on-base and try to help the team by being in position to score a run.”
Brown scored plenty of runs in 2015, when he first led the Lewis-Clark State Warriors to an NAIA National Championship and then put together an All-Star season with the Lake Monsters. With Lewis-Clark State, Brown posted a 1247 OPS last year, his first season with the Warriors. He jumped onto the MLB Draft radar with that performance and went to the A’s in the 19th round.
Hearing his name called was a dream come true for Brown, but he says that winning the national title last year was something he will always cherish.
“When I got drafted, it was just a blessing. Things couldn’t have worked out any better. But for me, that national championship was so much bigger than one person that the draft was the furthest thing from my mind at that point,” Brown said. “Just to be able to celebrate that moment with those guys was an incredible feeling. It was one of the most special moments of my life.”
Brown had no preconceived notions about what the professional game was going to entail, but he is enjoying the ride.
“When I arrived in Arizona, I didn’t know what to expect so I tried to bring the same mindset that I had at Lewis-Clark State to pro ball,” Brown said. “It seemed to click pretty quickly for me. The adjustment to the wood bat took a little bit, but after that, it was kind of smooth sailing.”
Since turning pro, Brown has moved all around the outfield and has seen time at first base. He says that he is happy to slot in wherever Ports’ manager Rick Magnante needs him.
“Whatever gets me on the field, I’m fine with. That’s the way I look at it,” Brown said. “I don’t have a specific position that I prefer. It’s just anywhere I’m needed or anywhere I can get playing time.”
No matter what position Brown is playing, he brings a hard-nosed approach with him, one he says he learned at Lewis-Clark State.
“The one thing I carry over – and it’s kind of a Lewis-Clark State thing – is no fear at any time,” Brown said. Whether it is a defensive play or whatever, I try to go 100% at all times, not really caring about the outcome of it. Just trying to make sure that I go 100% at all times. That was ingrained in me by my college coach, Jeremiah Robbins. He’s had the biggest impact on me in terms of a coaching standpoint and a role model standpoint. Going 100% all of the time and out-working everybody is kind of my goal.”