Name: Tim Brown
DOB: February 21, 1983
He was elevated to the Lake Elsinore Storm after initial projections had him going to Fort Wayne and proved he was able to the task.
Brown showed solid strike zone judgment and the ability to use all different parts of the field.
A former 12th round pick in 2001 out of high school, the Pirates had changed his swing and he never felt comfortable with it. Going to Kalamazoo, he was able to slow down his game, taking a more patient approach at the plate. The dividends were immediate as he hit .323 with 71 RBI's for the Kings.
He used the same tools that made for a successful 2005 season last year, waiting on his pitch and spraying line drives. It resulted in a .299 average and .427 on base percentage.
Brown's swing is short and compact, staying in the hitting zone throughout and generates line drives and ground balls. He does not have much lift – and that takes away from the power his frame holds.
He notched 37 doubles and ten homers for the Storm, along with 75 RBIs, but as a first baseman he realizes that his home run power must increase to be truly considered a top prospect. He tallied an extra base hit total equal to 38.6 percent of his production, which is, by all accounts, very good. But the disparity between doubles and homers is a concern. It is one of the reasons that Brown has made it a priority to introduce a lift into his swing heading into 2007.
"This is the best Brownie has hit in organized baseball," 2006 Lake Elsinore hitting coach Tom Tornicasa said. "He was more of a line drive hitter and he still is but showing occasional power, which is good, especially for the position he plays."
The Eugene native had bouts of inconsistency throughout the season with months of ineptness and months of greatness. Finding the player in between that produces quality results most of the time would be ideal. Brown did, however, provide stability with ten or more walks and RBI's in every month of play outside of a four-game September.
He is one of the more patient hitters in the system and is not afraid to take pitches and work the count. Seeing more pitches gives him the advantage of knowing how the pitcher is trying to set him up while allowing him to take advantage of mistakes.
He also stays on top of the plate, which has led to him being plunked 20 times by the opposition. You would think that the pitchers didn't much like him.
"I think a lot of that is guys just trying to come inside and they just miss," said Brown. "I don't stand extremely close to the plate. I am on it a little bit so I can cover that outside corner."
His even swing is more in the John Olerud mode and his ability to combine all the facets of hitting together make him a consistent threat to reach base and has promise for a high batting average moving forward.
"With Brownie we made just a few little adjustments," Tornicasa explained. "Robbie, Rob Deer, when he was here, he came in and made a few adjustments and he has taken it from there."
While he has the ability to reach base at a solid clip that just isn't enough anymore. Brown is ticketed for Double-A in 2007 and will have to trim the margin between his homer and double total as he moves up the ladder.
With virtually no speed in his repertoire, Brown is a run producer and his plate savvy is a boost to his ability to selectively hit the pitch he wants. Where it showed was in his .563 average with the bases loaded.
As a fielder, Brown lacks range but is a fisherman around the bag, picking thrown balls out of the dirt and saving would-be errors. He does not have agility to make plays to the second base side but is savvy enough to manage his limitations.
"Brownie has been great," third baseman Chase Headley said. "You don't think of first base being a great defensive position but he is the best I have ever played with. I know he saved me five or six errors just from playing with him."
ETA: With San Antonio in his immediate future, Brown may fall into the pressing he did early in his career as a member of the Pirates' organization. Today, however, he has a better approach to handle the adjustments he has planned for his swing. If he can double his homer output and remain a consistent threat to reach base, Brown will continue to move. If production remains more constant he will have to go back to the drawing board for advancement.