When the Texas Rangers drafted junior right-hander Sam Brown in the 22nd round of the MLB Draft last month, it was the third time he'd been drafted in four years.
Coming out of high school, Brown was taken in the seventh round by the Washington Nationals. He passed on the offer, opting to attend North Carolina State University. As a draft-eligible sophomore in 2008, Brown went to Arizona in the 18th round.
This past spring was Brown's junior campaign, where he worked out of the bullpen for the Wolfpack. In 21 appearances [just two starts], the 22-year-old posted a 3-0 record with a 4.67 ERA. He totaled 34.2 innings, yielding 38 hits, walking 10, and striking out 35.
Since signing with the Rangers, the 6-foot-5 hurler has been working out of the bullpen for the short-season Spokane Indians. Brown has appeared in eight games, allowing nine earned runs in 13.1 innings. He's given up 19 hits while walking six and fanning 14.
Lone Star Dugout has a Q&A feature with the Raleigh native.
Jason Cole: What were your thoughts on getting drafted by the Rangers?
Sam Brown: I was happy about it. I've heard the Rangers have a great organization and I've heard a lot of great things about their pitching program. I'm real excited about it.
Cole: This is the third time you've been drafted. Did anything make it feel special this time? Does it feel the same every time you get drafted?
Brown: The first time I got drafted, that was out of high school, so I didn't really know what I wanted to do. It was kind of just the negotiation thing and it didn't work out. Last year it was the same thing—it just didn't work out with the team.
But this year I was a little more excited because I knew I wanted to sign right off the bat, when the draft started. When Texas picked me, I was real excited. That's all I can say. I'm happy to be a Ranger.
Cole: How much had you talked to the Rangers during your college season and leading up to the draft?
Brown: We talked a couple of times during the year. I believe we talked once in December or something like that—awhile back. I think one time right before day two of the draft. I talked to them quite a bit. They're good people, and I'm happy they picked me.
Cole: Did you feel the Rangers were one of the teams that was most likely to take you leading into the draft?
Brown: I wasn't sure to be honest with you. They were definitely one of the teams that I wanted to be picked by just because of their reputation as having a good pitching program. I honestly had no idea who was going to pick me, but I'm glad they did.
Cole: Tell me about you on the mound—give me kind of a scouting report. What do you have in your repertoire?
Brown: I throw a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. My fastball and slider have been my main two pitches since I've been relieving all year. But my changeup is developing well. I've been working on it every day and I'm starting to get it to where I can control it now.
My fastball sits usually in the low-90s and I can get it up to 94 or 95 sometimes. Hopefully I can work with the Rangers guys and get my velocity up a little more and get better second and third pitches.
Cole: Is there one area of your game that you really want to develop now that you're in professional baseball?
Brown: Everything, really. From a mechanics standpoint—everything. I'm a guy who, when somebody tries to teach me something, I'm going to listen because that's something that will help me towards the big leagues. Whatever they think they need to teach me, I'm going to listen.
Cole: How did you feel about your season at NC State?
Brown: As you know, we had a rough season. I think we were 25-31 or something, and last year we were a game away from Omaha. Things just didn't flow well, I guess. We just couldn't win. It just didn't happen for us. My season was okay, but it just wasn't good for the team.
Cole: When I was talking to someone around the program at NC State, they told me to ask you about your piano playing.
Brown: I do a little bit, just messing around. I never took lessons or anything. It's just something—I got on a piano one day and I thought, ‘I can do this a little bit.' So I just started playing, and my teammates always give me a hard time about it.
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