When the Cubs took Daniel Brown in the 16th round of the 2023 MLB draft, I heard the words Campbell University. I thought, “Cool! They’ve produced a lot of good pitchers lately.“ Then I looked at the stats and I wondered just exactly what the Cubs were doing in taking Brown who had a whopping four appearances in 2022. So, I did a little more digging and found some video. That fastball looked pretty good considering it was traveling somewhere around 100 miles an hour. And I realized why the Cubs took him.

Basic information

Age – 20
Throws – Left
Height -6-foot-3
Weight – 200
Drafted in the 16th Round of the 2023 Draft

Brown’s college career at Campbell consisted of six appearances. One of them, he struck out the side and the other three he did not get out of the inning. To say he struggled with his command would be an understatement.

Joe Doyle said this of Brown who looked to be in the transfer portal at the end of the year.

As far as college-eligible players go, Brown may be the youngest in the entire country. He won’t turn 21 until after the 2023 season ends. Brown had hardly pitched entering the 2023 season, but was flirting with triple digits as early as the fall of 2022. It’s not easy to find long, lean, live-armed lefties with that kind of gas, so he checks that prerequisite box comfortably. Brown also throws a slider and a split-change, though both pitches lag behind the upside of the pure heat for now. He obviously has high-leverage upside, but will need to rein in the command a bit as he matures. He missed much of the 2023 season due to consistency woes, and jumped in the transfer portal after the season. 

This much is clear – the Cubs are betting on two things with Daniel Brown. First and foremost, they’re betting on Daniel Brown. He is a presidential scholar, which tells you that he is very intelligent, is probably very motivated to do well, and will probably take well to instruction. That’s one part of his make up. The other part is that the kid can throw 100 miles an hour. It’s really hard to coach that into a player. So when it comes naturally, that is building block. Combined, the Cubs feel like they have something.

Secondly, the Cubs are betting on their pitching development program which consists of of several different pitching coordinators from Craig Breslow to Carlos Chantres to Armando Gambino in Mesa. There are a lot of different guys who can help him. What the Cubs will do is get him in Mesa and get some baseline figures and then develop a program to help him control what he throws. That may be some delivery tweaks. It could also mean some different pitch grips. It could also mean strengthening some different muscle groups. There’s a whole lot of things that go into developing a pitcher, including arm angle. They just need to find what works best for him to throw the ball in the strike zone.

If the Cubs and Brown can do those things together, the Cubs may have struck gold with this late round pick.

Here is what Dan Kantrowitz said about taking Brown and it’s very interesting

“That’s a good one that should probably raise some eyebrows,. He had a little difficulty finding the zone, but frankly (he) probably didn’t get the chance that a guy with that kind of arm strength in our estimation deserved. We want to give him that chance. 

When you come into the system and haven’t pitched much in a game setting — and when he did it was scattered control — there’s going to be a lot of work to do there. It’s going to be somebody that comes in with some pretty top-of-the-charts raw tools from a pitch metric standpoint, pitch shape standpoint and even just a scouting evaluation standpoint, and just let our player development work with him and see where we can go.”

It’s clear that Kantrovitz sees Brown as a sort of lottery ticket. And by betting on Brown and the development staff, you’re hoping they have found a lottery ticket. Kantrovitz’s words aren’t really an indictment about the Campbell coaching staff as they did keep him around for three years. They did try to get him in the games. But the Cubs are going to try to straighten some things out in terms of the ball fitting in an invisible box. 

I would not put too many expectations on him. If it doesn’t work out the first two or three games. The Cubs are most likely going to be patient with him next year as they try to straighten him out…sort of.

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