66. D.J. Brown – Right-handed Pitcher
Born: 11/28/1990 – Height: 6’6” – Weight: 205 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Facts & Info: Brown was selected by the Indians in the 39th round of the 2012 Draft out of James Madison University (VA). He suffered a labrum tear to his right shoulder in the fall of 2011 which resulted in surgery and forced him to miss all of his college season and pro debut in 2012. Last year he tied for 2nd in the Carolina League in wins (11) and ranked 2nd in the organization in wins (13) and 10th in ERA (3.80).
Stuff: Brown features a standard three pitch mix of a fastball, slider and changeup, and shows the ability to control all three pitches and mixes them well. He pounds the strike zone with a pitch to contact approach where he consistently gets ahead of hitters and works to get a groundball. His solid average two-seam fastball is a pitch that he has a lot of confidence in and has good life through the zone sitting at 87-91 MPH and occasionally touching 93-94 MPH. He commands it well to both sides of the plate and gets good sink on it to the bottom of the zone. His changeup and slider have both incrementally improved since turning pro. He has developed his average changeup into one of his better offerings and his average slurvy slider is more consistently in the strike zone and a pitch he is able to get some good tilt with and also get some chase when ahead in the count. While the offspeed stuff is still coming along he has the confidence to throw them in any count and does a nice job of mixing in the offspeed early in the count to keep hitters off balance.
Delivery & Intangibles: Brown has a pitchers body and brings a physical presence with his tall, slender frame and really does a nice job of leveraging the baseball on hitters. He has really taken well to several delivery adjustments the Indians have implemented over the three years he has been a pro and as a result his delivery is more consistent and controlled. While his stuff may be marginal he has proven himself to be a durable arm who can pitch in many different roles as a starter or reliever, something that creates a lot of value for him.
Focus: The Indians spent their first season with Brown building up his stamina so that he could regain his velocity and better repeat his delivery. Now that he is past the labrum issue the focus has been to continue to work with him in getting him stronger and adding more physicality so that he can be more consistent with his delivery and stuff. His development plan is focused on getting him to command his fastball a little better to his glove side, keeping the ball down in the zone more consistently and working to improve his secondary stuff. The Indians are also working to develop his pitch sequencing and how to attack hitters.
Future: Brown was somewhat of a wildcard when he entered the system as the Indians were unable to scout him in 2012 because of his injury, but he has proven to be a great example of a guy who has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him. When Dylan Baker went on the shelf with an injury the last two seasons he filled in well in the starting rotation at High-A Carolina and Lynchburg and was rewarded with a late season promotion to Double-A Akron last year. There is nothing about the numbers that really sticks out; he’s just a reliable, consistent performer and a nice versatile option for the Indians to have in the upper levels who has been a good performer the last few years and has shown some potential as a swing man who can start, pitch in long relief or log high leverage innings late in games at a moment’s notice. While he may not be a high profile prospect, if he continues to pitch well he has the size and some interesting stuff that could afford him a Major League opportunity down the road. He should open the season at Double-A Akron and see where things take him from there.