Monday, June 07, 2010

Giants Select Gary Brown, CF, with their 24th pick of 2010

BA had this to say about the pick:
Gary Brown was hurt down the stretch and wasn't a consensus first-rounder. Some teams doubted his bat and feel for hitting. But he was 14th on BA's Top 200 with top-of-the-line speed and excellent defensive ability in center field, and Brown should be able to move quickly to San Francisco. He gives the Giants another position player prospect, an area the Giants have thrived in since John Barr took over as scouting director.
The Hardball Times had this to say:
Yikes. Brown is really fast—a great athlete, but to me, doesn't have the skills to merit this pick. The main complaint is that his walk rate for the last two seasons has been 4 percent. I wrote a few weeks ago that a player with major-league potential should probably have a 10 percent walk rate or higher. Brown's is lower than that of any other serious draft prospect, and it isn't that close.
Fangraphs had this to say:
Brown has perhaps the best speed in the draft. That allows him to project as a plus defender in center field despite an average arm. Offensively, there are a lot of questions about his hitting ability. As a speedster, he needs to do a better job of talking walks so that he can take advantage of his plus-plus speed. The team that selects Brown will no doubt instruct its coaches to quiet his lower half; he has far too much movementin his feet and will need to develop a better timing mechanism. His body resembles a young Aaron Hill, which includes shorter legs, and he could lose some speed as he fills out. He was originally drafted in the 12th round by the A’s out of high school. (Marc Hulet)
Giants Thoughts

After thoughts of getting a good bat like Zach Cox and Nick Castellanos or Yordy Cabrera (still available BTW) or Jedd Gyorko (also still available), getting Gary Brown is a big let down, particularly after talk about getting the best talent despite cost.  Given that talk, I thought that perhaps Cox or Castellanos might be selected if they happen to fall to us, particularly Cox since he's a college bat.

The Giants have been talking about getting speed into the lineup, atop the lineup, and players like Marcus Sanders and Eugenio Velez and Emmanuel Burriss, among others (like McBride and others speedsters in system the past few years.  As BA noted, it is not like Brown is not without talent:  he was rated 14th in the draft, so he is pretty good value given that, but they forgot to note that in their final Top 50, he was only 24th. (see their final Top 50 in talent)   In comparision, Zach Cox was rated 6th in that list and Nick Castellanos was rated 14th.


  1. BA, when it ranked Brown 14th, noted this: "Broken hand stalled his season; some clubs aren't on him this high, but his tools are big."

    I would also add that with John Barr leading the draft, perhaps we should give him a break since he's the position prospect expert we hired to pick better position prospects in the draft. He's led us to Tommy Joseph and Brandon Belt last year and Gillaspie, Kieschnick, and Crawford the year before.

    Still, disappointing given what I've read about the other prospects available at the time of our pick. Hopefully he will sign quickly and hit the ground running, literally.

    Here is his profile in Fullerton, looks like a nice kid, the female fans should be in full swoon:

    And here is a link to his stats:


    While it is true he don't walk much, he also doesn't strikeout much either, putting the ball into play more often. Kind of like a Juan Pierre type who don't walk or strikeout much.

    Pierre don't have much power, but Brown did in college, had a .257 ISO, but I don't know if that is particularly good. He did not hit that many homers but did get a lot of triples and doubles.

    31 steals in 36 attempts. He was on first base 77 times and second base 20 times via doubles, plus however many times he stole second base. So he had the green light a lot, maybe 100 opportunities and attempting 36 times.

    He hit .438/.485/.695/1.180 and his hand stalled him?

    Oddly enough, he actually played more games at 3B, than he did in the OF, yet was considered an OF, perhaps because of that average arm that was mentioned.

    I will dig up the commentary on him before the draft when I get the chance.


    "The Giants like that he's an aggressive hitter as a leadoff man who can make things happen on the bases with his speed.

    Giants special assistant John Barr says he thinks Brown will be an everyday major league center fielder."

  3. I have a bad feeling about this pick. It screams Calvin Murray to me. Although it's a crapshoot, I think Cox would've been the safer pick.

  4. Andy Seiler had this to say about Brown post-pick:

    "Gary Brown is a quick center fielder from Cal State Fullerton. Originally from Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, California, a town about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, Brown has come a long way since his high school days. A versatile middle infielder in high school, he was considered a solid prospect with solid tools.

    He was deliberated over for the first day of the 2007 draft, but fell to the A’s in the twelfth round and they failed to sign him.

    He was an immediate starter at Fullerton, and he hasn’t looked back. He started at second and third base during his first two years, but a move to the outfield this season, a result of Josh Fellhauer (Reds, 7th) being drafted last year, has shown something new.

    He is a plus hitter with plus contact skills, but he has shown little patience at the plate and has below-average pop. However, he’s a gap-to-gap hitter with the ability to both hit doubles and bunt for a base hit. He’s a plus-plus runner with plus-plus range in center field and incredible instincts for a player with limited experience in the outfield. His arm is solid-average, plenty to carry the position.

    The whole defensive package is the best in the draft class for center field and many scouts predict him to be a gold glove winner.

    A late-season broken finger clouds his stock a little bit, but scouts have had plenty of time to see him. Brown looks like a surefire first round pick, likely in the second half of the round."

    This is pretty positive. To be frank, I have not been impressed with the prospect guys at either The Hardball Times or Fangraphs. Whereas Perfect Games (started by people formerly with Baseball America) hired Seiler to be one of their representatives and his mock drafts were published at their website. So I would give BA and Seiler more credence in terms of assessing Brown.

    Sounds a lot better now, but still, we could have had talent that were first half of first round talents in Cox or Castellanos, so the onus is on the Giants now to develop him so that he's better than Cox or Castellanos would have been for the team.

    One area I neglected to consider is that the Giants prefer defensive-minded players and I don't recall either Cox or Castellanos being considered that good.

  5. Another expert with creds is Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (he was with BA when he was hired away). he had this to say, projecting the Yankees picking him 32nd:

    "The Yankees are happy to go over slot here if something falls in their lap, but that's unlikely. They'll look at plenty of high school players with leverage and signability issues, but one college player that could enter the mix is Gary Brown. The Boras client missed the end of the season with a broken finger, but he might be the fastest player in the draft while also offering size, strength, and outstanding defense. The fact the he rarely walks (or strikes out) concern some, but for others he's a bigger, stronger version of Brett Gardner."

    Did not know that he was a Boras client. Fat chance that he will sign immediately then. And he is probably looking for overslot money as well.

  6. BA had this to say about Brown (and others) at the Reds #12 pick:

    "Cincinnati wants the best player who will sign for close to slot money, which is believed to be around $1.75 million at No. 12. Colon, Grandal, McGuire and Cal State Fullerton outfielder Gary Brown would fit here on talent but maybe not on money."

  7. Here is what Frank Piliere of AOL Fanhouse noted in one of his mock draft, projecting LAD picking him:

    "Brown is another one of those polarizing players, but there will be a team in the top 30 that values his tremendous athleticism and off-the-charts speed. Particularly for an NL team, he could be a valuable commodity. The Dodgers have shown interest, as have a number of clubs in the 15-30 range."

  8., Draft Tracker:

    Scouting Report
    Hitting ability: Brown consistently gets the barrel on the ball. It's not pretty, his feet are moving, but the bat is always in the right place, particularly against fastballs.

    Power: He doesn't look like he should, but he's got some surprising pop.

    Running speed: He's got plus, plus speed.

    Base running: He wreaks havoc on the basepaths, though he's still raw and needs to learn the nuances of baserunning.

    Arm strength: His arm is not quite average and isn't really a part of his game.

    Fielding: When he first started playing center, he did not look good out there. But he's improved quickly in his routes and reading the ball off the bat.

    Range: With his speed, he's got more than enough range for center.

    Physical Description: Brown is an athletic, though not overly big, speedster. He's got a Reggie Willits body type.

    Medical Update: Healthy.

    Strengths: Plus, plus speed. Better hitting skills than expected.

    Weaknesses: He's still raw in many facets of the game.

    Summary: There may not have been another hitter in the 2010 Draft class who got off to a hotter start than Brown. Speed is his best tool, and he can wreak havoc on the basepaths. He's got more strength and power than it would seem, and while his approach is unorthodox, he's got good overall hitting skills. Relatively new to the outfield, he's come a long way in terms of his defensive skills in center. Pure speed guys who can hit don't grow on trees, and if Brown keeps hitting the way he started out the year, he's going to hear his name called sooner rather than later on Draft Day.

  9. Oh well, both Gyorko and Cabrera gone on successive picks (to 'Dres and A's, no less).

  10. Oh, missed Boof's comment. Thanks! That was the name I was trying to think of Calvin Murray!

    Yeah, not really a great comparison or history.

  11. Below is a comment I posted on Fangraph's chat on the first round draft, I think there is good info there:

    Sackmann noted +3, +1, +1 for defense for Brown. Is that the rate over N number of games (like UZR/150) or overall for games played (like UZR)? If the former the comment makes more sense, but if the latter, I would note something I was surprised by in Fullerton’s profile of Brown: he didn’t play much in the OF while with Fullerton. In fact, he played more games at 3B (36) than the OF (25) in 2010. And in prior years, it was even more lopsided, I assume, given the comment I read elsewhere that he didn’t really play the OF until 2010, after their regular OF left the team.

    So, if I pro-rate that +3 across 61 games instead of 25, that’s about +7 this season for someone who, according to what I read at MLB Bonus Baby, didn’t play much OF in prior years as he was a middle infielder in high school and started mostly at 2B and 3B during his first two years. And he missed 12 games this season due to a broken finger, so that should push to +8 or 9 or so. Which means that he has been great on defense despite never really playing out there much previously, as he has mainly played infield positions previously in high school and college.

    Also, I have no context for what is good for power in college or not, as I don’t follow college ball. His ISO in 2010 is .257, which normally is good power, but I guess is bad in college since everyone says so. Is it scouting that says he has no power? I see his body is not big, is that all there is, or is there more statistical analysis that I’m not aware of?

    Lastly, I happen to agree with the Goldstein statement that no walks does not automatically equal a bad hitter, I believe it depends on the context, that context being a .438 BA.

    That is part of what I hate about sabermetrics (and I consider myself a saber), the basic sound-bites that everyone repeats but don’t understand fully themselves. I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Hits are way more valuable than a walk and if a guy can hit enough to make up for his lack of walks, that is OK in my book. Has anyone ever studied where the inflection point is?

    I would imagine it would just be using calculus on the wOBA formula to determine the differentials or something like that (been 30 years since I did that sort of calcs…) and solving the equation in some way.

    And Brown would be a good case study without analyzing the equation. Sure, his walk rate is low in 2010 but he hit .438 with an OBP of .485 (+47). In 2009, he “only” hit .340 but his OBP was .402 (+62) and in 2008, he only hit .292 but OBP was .374 (+82). His walk rate was a much more solid 8.5% in 2008 (though not great, granted).

    So clearly, he has adjusted the way he has swung the bat depending on how well he hit the ball, swinging the bat more when he could hit better. The question is did he make the correct tradeoff? I am not familiar with how wOBA works, but I assume that could be used to compare.

  12. Sporting News analyst, Michael Huang (don't know his credentials but it's Sporting News):

    "The Giants have their leadoff man of the future. He's highly disruptive on the basepaths, is a terrific contact hitter and squares the barrel of the bat on the ball with ease. Though he's fast, he's not a true burner. He utilizes explosion and a quick start. He also gets out of the box quickly. A broken hand suffered at the end of the season shouldn't be a concern."

  13. Nice article on Brown by Baggarly in Mercury:

    "Giants scouting director John Barr said the 6-foot, 185-pound Brown "can be an everyday center fielder in the big leagues, a bat at the top of a lineup and a catalyst because of his speed."

    Barr said 10 Giants scouts saw Brown this season as he hit .438 with 20 doubles, eight triples and six home runs. He stole 31 bases in 36 attempts and scored 62 runs in 48 games.

    "Home runs won't be his game, but he'll drive the ball alley to alley and run," Barr said."

  14. Baggarly linked to this article on his blog:

  15. Perfect Game's descriptions:

    Gary Brown, of, Cal State Fullerton
    Brown is simply one of the fastest players in college baseball, and the Giants can certainly afford to get more athletic, both offensively and defensively. Brown’s offensive skill set is a mixed bag. He’s hitting .450 for Cal State Fullerton and has struck out only 11 times, but has drawn only eight walks, as well. The extra bases he misses out on with his hitting approach he more than makes up for in other areas: 19 doubles, 8 triples, 6 home runs, 28 stolen bases."

    Gary Brown, of, Cal State Fullerton
    The second Fullerton player on this mock, Brown continually impresses with his combination of plus speed and plus defense, as well as a plus hit tool. All those things could bode well for him, and the Cardinals are typically a team that loves athleticism from their hitters, if such athleticism is available."

    Gary Brown, of, Cal State Fullerton
    There seems to be a strong case of “out of sight, out of mind” involving Brown, since he broke his finger a couple of weeks ago. The Giants need hitting and athleticism, and Brown would provide both of those at a premium position. So would Eibner, and to a lesser degree Brentz."

  16. Perfect Games Gary Brown description after Giants selection:

    GARY BROWN, of, Cal State Fullerton
    SCOUTING PROFILE (3/1): Brown’s best tool is his blazing speed, and it’s a significant asset at the plate, on the bases and in center field. Though he has legitimate top-of-the-order potential and plays with boundless energy, Brown still needs to refine most aspects of his game to take full advantage of his speed, arguably the best in the Cape Cod League last summer and the best in the college ranks this spring. He hit .340-3-40 as a sophomore at Cal State Fullerton and batted .310-2-14 in a return engagement to Orleans, but had yet to master the art of small ball, particularly bunting, entering his junior year. That appeared to change this spring as a junior at Cal State Fullerton. All facets of his game have improved and he was hitting a robust .448-2-17 through 23 games, while leading the Titans in runs and stolen bases. His draft stock has taken a corresponding climb. Brown’s pesky approach at the plate can often unnerve opponents. He can be overly aggressive, at times, and has a tendency to chase pitches, but has good hand-eye coordination and generally makes contact. He also has surprising power in his slight 6-foot, 180-pound frame, but his swing is geared too much to drive pitches, rather than simply put balls on the ground to utilize his big speed. He can create havoc on the bases, as well, but needs to learn better base-stealing technique as he was successful on just 10 of 17 stolen-base attempts last summer on the Cape. Brown is an accomplished center fielder, despite spending much of his first two years at Cal State Fullerton out of position at third base. He has excellent range in all directions, gets great reads and jumps, and his arm strength is above-average. His raw speed allows him to play shallower than most center fielders, enabling him to take away more than his share of hits, while still being able to retreat on balls over his head. If he can continue to show that he has corrected some of his flaws at the plate and on the bases, Brown will be a legitimate first-round candidate in June.—ALLAN SIMPSON
    UPDATE (5/15): While Brown had his share of doubters earlier this season that he would end up in the first round pick in June, he has quieted those concerns by continuing to produce big numbers at the plate, and on the bases, through the spring. With the regular season winding down, Brown was hitting a team-high .439, while contributing six homers and 41 RBIs from his leadoff role. He had also swiped 29 bases in 34 attempts. It was evident that Brown has matured in several phases of his game as a junior, even as he still remains as aggressive as ever at the plate, as evidenced by just nine walks and 11 strikeouts in 47 games. He’s become a more polished hitter, both barreling up more balls and not getting himself out as often. His game-changing speed has been more of a weapon on the bases, and he has fully taken to his everyday status in center field, where his range and arm strength are significant assets.—AS"

  17. Perfect Game is the first to point out that Brown spent his first two years in Fullerton out of position at third base.



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