The St. Louis Cardinals have claimed outfielder Gary Brown off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. The news was first reported by Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. The 26-year-old had been designated for assignment on March 31.
The former Cal State Fullerton star was selected by the Giants in the first round, 24th overall, of the 2010 draft. Brown was ranked the number three prospect in San Francisco’s system in 2011, first in 2012 and fourth in 2013 but fell to 19th in 2014, according to Baseball America. As he reached Double-A and Triple-A, the right-handed hitter struggled against right-handed pitching due in part to unusual close-to-the-body hand placement in his pre-swing load.
In parts of five Minor League seasons, Brown’s line is .277/.342/.415/.757. In his four full seasons, he reached double digit totals in home runs three times. Brown swiped more than 30 bases in three of four years as well, including 53 in high-A ball in 2011. He went 3-for-7 in a brief MLB debut last season.
OK, let’s pretend that you’re the Cardinals. Your two potential centerfielders for Triple-A Memphis are suddenly out of the picture. Randal Grichuk makes St. Louis due to a strong spring and Tommy Pham’s injury continues to linger. The only viable possibility is Rafael Ortega, who had been removed from the 40-man roster last year.
So, what do you do? Claim a former top prospect off the waiver wire. Hence, Brown is now a Memphis Redbird and a likely starter in center for the Pacific Coast League club.
Brown had been added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster in November 2013, so should have two minor league option seasons remaining. After the addition of Carlos Villanueva, the Cardinals had one spot remaining on their 40-man, which is now full.
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