Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prospect Retrospective: Trevor Brown

Someone asked for a Prospect Retrospective on Trevor Brown.  Ask and ye shall receive!

Trevor Brown was about as nondescript college prospect as it's possible to be, playing multiple positions at UCLA including C, 2B and 1B.  He slashed .321/.373/.427 with 13 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR in 246 AB.  Good numbers, but nothing special for a college hitter.  I'm guessing the Giants scouted him in the wood bat Northwoods League in the summer of 2011 where he hit .287/.373/.350 with a K/BB of approximately 1.

The Giants drafted him in round 10, a relatively high draft position, in 2012 and assigned him to Salem-Keizer where he hit just .221, but with a 9.4 BB% and an 11.5 K% in 139 PA.  He hit a bit better for Low A Augusta in 2013:  .250/.304/.326 with 10 SB and 3 HR in 423 PA.  His K/BB was 12.3/6.4.  He was promoted to San Jose late in the season where he hit just .179 in 62 PA's.

He stayed over in San Jose to start 2014 and continued to struggle to a .215 BA in 212 PA's.  Inexplicably, he got promoted to AAA Fresno where he was a completely different player, hitting .319/.380/.361 in 80 PA's.  The Giants kept him at AAA, now Sacramento, to start the 2015 season and he slashed .261/.319/.343 with a 6.7 BB% and 16.9 K% in 314 PA.  He got the September callup when the Giants ran out of backup catchers and hit a modest .231 but impressed everybody with his game management skills and athleticism behind the plate.

Brown has hit well this spring and may well end up as the last man standing in the demolition derby that has become the Giants backup catcher job, although even he suffered a setback yesterday when he took a backswing off his forearm and suffered a pretty good bruise.

Here are some thoughts on what we might learn from Trevor Brown's experience as a prospect in the Giants system:

1.  The Giants scout more than just offensive numbers in college players.

2.  The Giants scout the wood bat leagues and put a ton of stock in what they see there.

3.  The Giants value athleticism and versatility and the ability to play an up the middle position.  Multiple up-the-middle positions is even better!

4.  The Giants value contact over walk rate and power.

5.  A long term, perhaps unintended consequence of the "Buster Posey Rule" is that we will see fewer catchers built like an Abrams tank and more smaller, quicker, athletic guys who can move around the plate and make athletic plays.

6.  Sometimes the most important factor in the success of a prospect is being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of small opportunities.


  1. Excellent summary. Just a quick note on that 2012 draft: new CBA, a lot of teams were drafting college seniors with no leverage for low moneys to save money after the 10th round to go spend their draft pool on bonus babies. In the 10th round, 7 teams went slot (including the Giants with Brown, the Reds went overslot to the tune of 500K, and the remaining 22 teams were far under, including a few 4 figure deals.

    Why does this matter? There is value in playing the draft straight and getting your guy. Trevor Brown is the only guy in that 10th round to have made the show. A guy we liked around here named Ron Miller played 2 years with the Marlins, and then fell out of baseball.

    Interestingly, about half the players in the 10th round are still playing pro ball. Some have dropped out or are playing independent. That's pretty remarkable after 3 full years.

  2. Thanks for the stellar retrospective, Doc B.

  3. there is nothing more true than right place right time Dr. B...great insight