Jordan Brown: Prospect Comp

Per's a little bit about Jordan Brown - our own reigning back-to-back minor league MVP (Carolina 2006, Eastern 2007).  Brown's only had two full seasons of minor league action, so we don't have too much to go on...but here it goes.

Brown was drafted in the 4th round (124th) by Cleveland in the 2005 draft out of Arizona where he had been a teammate with 1st round pick Trevor Crowe.  Brown put up solid, but not eye-popping numbers in his final two years at Arizona (.306/.357/.553, .336/.377/.584).  Listed at 6'0", 210lbs, Brown hits and throws left-handed and has spent his minor league career splitting time between 1B and corner OF.  He got just a taste of action in Mahoning Valley after the draft and didn't show much, but the Tribe brass considered him advanced enough to start him at Kinston for his first full season as a 22-year old.  He promptly won the Carolina League MVP with a .290/.362/.474 line featuring 26 2Bs, 8 3Bs, and 15 HRs.  He also struck out only 59 times in 524 PAs to go along with 51 walks.  He followed that effort up with another MVP season in 2007 at Akron.  He upped his average (.333), OBP (.421), SLG (.484).  He did this despite a lingering knee injury which apparently slowed him down throughout the season.

Tony Lastoria had him at #2 in his nice off-season prospect ranking, behind only Adam Miller.  He's got this quote:

Going forward, there is not a lot he needs to do as a hitter as he really just needs to continue learning to make adjustments and get some at bats in Triple-A.  His main focus will be on improving defensively, be it at first base or in the outfield.  If he hones his defensive skills, he could be a very special player for a long time.
He was the #7 prospect in BA's rankings this year, identified as the best hitter for average and hitter with the best strike-zone discipline.  Kevin Goldstein (subscription required) placed him at #9, marking him as a "2-star prospect".  

Here's what he's done (B-Ref, The Baseball Cube).  Again, we only have two full professional seasons to work off of, so I'm adding his final year of college ball's his plate appearances, K-rate, walk-rate, isolated power (SLG-BA), average, and OPS* (OPS-league average OPS):

Jordan Brown (NCAA, A+, AA; Ages 21-23)
PA: 280, 533, 558
K%: 10.4, 11.1, 10.0
BB%: 6.4, 9.6, 11.3
ISO: .248, .184, .151
BA: .336, .290, .333
OPS*: --, .112, .168

Brown's a good contact hitter who has shown dramatic improvement in his strike-zone discipline, while producing high averages and decent pop (largely driven by 2Bs in 2007 and 3Bs in 2006).  His back-to-back MVPs also attest, perhaps more than his numbers, how impressive he has been.

But how does he stack up...again, I'd like to make comparisons to players we might be familiar with.  Here's the list:

Sean Casey
Ryan Garko
David Dellucci
Brad Snyder

Sean Casey (A-, A+, AA, MLB; Ages 20-23)
PA: 226, 386, 269, 348
K%: 9.3, 12.2, 12.6, 12.9
BB%: 8.0, 9.3, 8.6, 12.4
ISO: .115, .213, .212, .145
BA: .329, .331, .386, .272
OPS*: .146, .222, .278, --

Ryan Garko (R+, A+, AA, AAA; Ages 22-24)
PA: 177, 264, 186, 520
K%: 10.7, 12.9, 15.1, 17.7
BB%: 6.8, 9.8, 7.5, 8.5
ISO: .133, .281, .192, .195
BA: .273, .328, .331, .303
OPS*: .067, .293, .163, .117

David Dellucci (R/A+, A+/AA, AA, MLB; Ages 21-24)
PA: 183, 502, 442, 452
K%: 9.3, 17.9, 15.6, 22.8
BB%: 9.8, 13.1, 13.1, 7.3
ISO: .115, .108, .247, .139
BA: .303, .305, .327, .260
OPS*: .110, .095, .230, --

Brad Snyder (R+, A-/A+, A+/AA, AA, AAA; Ages 21-25)
PA: 266, 475, 578, 594, 303
K%: 30.8, 22.3, 28.1, 27.0, 30.8
BB%: 15.4, 12.8, 8.7, 10.6, 12.2
ISO: .183, .198, .216, .176, .185
BA: .284, .300, .279, .270, .263
OPS*: .201, .210, .105, .091, .073

These are just a handful of comparisons, but obviously Brown looks a lot more like the two guys at the top of the list, Casey and Garko, than the two at the bottom of the list.  I think that's encouraging.  But it should be pointed out that Casey especially had the look of a much better prospect than Brown.  Casey was putting up better power and average numbers across the board all a year younger in age than Brown.  But, power is generally viewed as one of the later developing tools (although maybe I should throw in a Sean Burroughs comparison as a cautionary tale in that regard), so maybe the best of Brown is yet to come.  And his trajectory is headed in the right direction at this point.  I think Brown will definitely be auditioning for a 2009 spot in Cleveland this year, and depending on injuries and transactions, possible late 2008 playing time.  He appears to be a guy who's good at not getting out...which is generally a good thing.

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