Drafted 24th overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 Major League Baseball Player Draft, 24-year old center fielder Gary Brown is making a strong case to open the 2013 season in Triple-A Fresno. Currently rated as the Giants top minor league prospect, Brown projects as a quality major league center fielder with plus defensive skills and good speed at the top of the order.
In his first full season of minor league ball with the San Jose Giants in 2011 in which he batted leadoff every game, Brown tore up the competition. On his way to swiping 53 bases that year, Brown also set the San Jose Giants hits record with 188 in just 131 games played. At the end of 2011, Brown was rated as the Giants best minor league hitter for average, fastest base runner, best athlete, and best defensive player by Baseball America.
In 2012, Gary Brown spent the entire season with the Giants Double-A affiliate, Richmond Flying Squirrels. Although his numbers were not as impressive in Richmond as they were in San Jose, there was a lot of talk within the Giants organization of promoting Brown to the majors in 2012. In 134 total games in Double-A, Brown finished the ’12 season hitting .279 with 33 stolen bases.
While Brown has shown the ability to set the base paths on fire, he has also shown a troubling propensity to get caught stealing. Thrown out 19 times in ’11 and 18 times in ’12, Brown’s success rate has been rather pedestrian. While his speed has never been the issue, Brown’s problems have been contributed to hesitation and bouts of poor decision making, an area he has focused on while working to correct a hitch in his slide.
Another area of concern for Brown last season was his struggle to consistently hit right-handed pitching. Although finishing the season with a .264 against righties was not tragic for the up and comer, Brown must improve to bring his game to the next level.
The resigning of 31 year old Angel Pagan to a new 4-year contract means youngster Brown has some time to develop and his work cut out for him. With his sights set on cracking the Giants major league roster, the 2013 season could prove to be a big one for Brown who undoubtedly wants to show that he has made the necessary adjustments from his 2012 campaign and that his breakout 2011 season was no fluke.
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