Ben Brown – Pic via Tennessee Smokies

We all have our pet prospects, guys who we like more than others. I wouldn’t call them favorites because I realize that there are other prospects out there who probably have more skills or potential. Maybe there’s just something about this prospect that caught your eye or your attention and you just can’t let it go. For me, that’s Ben Brown who the Cubs acquired last summer in the David Robertson trade.

He may not the number one pitching prospect in the system, nor do I expect him to be, but there is a lot to like about him. When I would be talking with some of my friends online, I would mention how much I like him and how much of a steal I think the Cubs got in acquiring him. Then they would ask me why. At first I did not have an answer. But several of them eventually came to me. Brown has not fully reached his potential. 

Here is what MLB Pipeline had to say about Brown’s potential:

Outside of his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Brown has provided consistent strikes. Because of his elbow reconstruction and the 2020 pandemic shutdown, he worked just 100 1/3 innings in his first five years as a pro, so he still needs innings to refine his stuff and command. He has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter and also could has the ingredients to become a late-inning reliever. 

Here are five reasons why I am all in on Ben Brown being better in 2023 than he was in 2022.

1. In watching him throw, it’s mostly coming from the waist up. He’s not really driving as much with his legs as he could. I am pretty sure the Cubs have seen that, and they may be OK with it. But they could possibly tap into a couple of extra clicks But will that put extra stress on his arm and elbow after already undergoing TJS once? Or it could do the opposite. It just depends on how well his leg drive works in concert with his upper half. That’s the big issue in tinkering with deliveries.

2. This will be Brown’s first off-season as a Cub. He’s going to be assigned someone to report to and he is going to have to provide updates with his progress this off-season. I don’t think he’s going to be throwing a lot, but he’s going to be working on something in his development plan to get ready for Triple-A. 

We’ve seen a few pitchers come over to the Cubs’ system and they might perform admirably the first few months. When they come back after that first winter off, something has changed. It could be their delivery, it could be a pitch or two; it might even be their arm slot. I am wondering how much Brown is going to change when spring training starts considering that he’s now on 40-man.

3. 23-years-old – He’s still pretty young to be pitching at Double-A despite missing most of 2021 due to injury. He only pitched 19 innings in 2021 but threw just at 100 IP this year.

4. Demeanor I love how he just attacks the strike zone. He doesn’t really mess around and try and cut the corners. He comes right at guys and challenges them. I don’t really know that the Cubs have a guy like that other than Daniel Palencia.

5. Room to Grow – While he is technically not beefcake material, and probably never will be, there’s still some room on his 6-foot-6 frame to add some muscle. We’re still looking at a kid who already throws in the mid to upper 90s who could throw in the upper 90s to 100 if the Cubs do everything right and he does everything right.

And that’s really the main crux of this post is that he can get better.

Brown should start out 2023 at Double-A Tennessee and his performance should take him to Iowa at some point in 2023.

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Pete Crow-Armstrong
Owen Caissie
Ben Brown
Luis Verdugo
Cade Horton
Kohl Franklin
Riley Martin
Sheldon Reed
Daniel Palencia
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