Prospect Files: Hunter Brown

The Mariners selected Rice University product Hunter Brown in the 22nd round of the 2002 draft, and at the age of 24 he already ranks as one of the top third base prospects in Seattle's organization. InsidethePark.com members can learn more about Brown by clicking on the story.

Position: 3B
Born: October 24, 1979
Place: Houston, TX
Ht: 6-2
Wt: 205
Bats: R
Throws: R
How Acquired: Drafted by the Mariners in the 22nd round of the 2002 First Year Player Draft (670th overall)


Hunter Brown's final two seasons at Rice University produced a .320 average, 13 homeruns and 76 RBI in just 118 games and 441 at-bats. It was this sort of solid everyday production that the M's saw projecting out into more power and the same consistent play as Brown continued his baseball journey in 2002.

The 24-year-old has struggled somewhat in his first two years in pro ball, hitting just .240 at three stops since draft day in June, 2002. The positives do however outweigh the negatives as Brown is excelling in most areas of play. He has shown the power potential scouts smile at and his defense has shown steady promise. The right-handed hitting third baseman has continued his solid plate skills by drawing walks at a quality rate, trumping his semi-high strikeout totals in 2003.

Brown's first season as a pro in 2002 followed his career at Rice, where not only do they use the aluminum bat, but the team was used to winning 70 percent of their games. Both would change for Brown as the two stops he made in Everett and Wisconsin would lack both the lighter, more effective bat, and the wins as well. Brown seemed to adjust fine with the bat issue but the rapid process of change may have stunted his progress as he hit just .224 combined with the short-season Aqua Sox and the Midwest League's Timber Rattlers. Brown's patience at the plat remained a strength, as did his immediate power surge hitting seven homeruns and walking 39 times in just over 200 at-bats.

The 2003 campaign brought out a better Hunter Brown at a higher level of play. Promoted to the California League to start at the hot corner for the Inland Empire 66ers, Brown made improvements in all aspects. His average rose moderately by 24 points to .248 while his strikeout rate dropped (102 in over 550 PA's) and his walk rate stayed solid at 67. The biggest improvements came in the power department. Smacking 15 homeruns and 34 doubles in his first full season in the minor leagues was an impressive performance for Brown. His defense, while not exactly stellar, was solid, making 26 errors in 125 games.

Brown should be able to win the starting 3B job at Double-A San Antonio in 2004 with fellow 3B prospects Justin Leone and Greg Dobbs undoubtedly making the leap to Triple-A and possibly the majors. Expect Brown's defense to make steady improvements and watch for continued progress at the plate in the areas of batting average and power numbers.

TOOLS: Grading Scale

Stick: 50+
Brown's bat has yet to prove to be more than major-league-average, hence the "50" rating at this point. I do see his power improving even more and ending up in the 20-25 range in the next year or two. His average is not as important as his OBP is, and his ability to get on base is already very solid. Brown's offensive abilities could rate a 60 by season's end. Brown is a polished hitter with his approach and should show more of it in 2004 and beyond.

Glove: 50
Similar status as his hitting in that he really hasn't done enough to warrant more than an average rating here but all signs point to him getting better with more time in the field. His throwing arm is better than average and his reactive times are fine. It's just a matter of putting it all together. Brown's glove could reach as high as a 70 before all is said and done.

Wheels: 50
Brown isn't going to stretch many doubles into triples, steal many bases, or beat out a lot of infield hits, but he does run the bases well, and carries average speed. When your talking about 3B prospects, the player's speed matters very little as long as it's not so slow that it would hinder the rest of his game. It doesn't with Brown.

MLB ETA: 2005

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