If Daniel Brown’s first MGM Park experience is a sign of what’s to come, the 2019 season should be a strong one for the former Mississippi State pitcher.
Brown officially made the leap from Single-A to Double-A on Monday when the Biloxi Shuckers released their roster ahead of Thursday’s season opener against the Birmingham Barons in Biloxi.
While it’s a 4-hour drive to Dudy Noble Field from MGM Park, Brown is glad to be back in the Magnolia State after spending time in Arizona, Wisconsin and North Carolina the last three years as he makes the steady climb through the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm system.
“I was pretty excited when I found out I was coming here,” Brown said Monday as he sat in the dugout at MGM Park, “Baseball fans in Mississippi are a little different. I was able to experience that in college and playing in front of that amazing fan base was really fun. I’m glad to be back down here in Mississippi.”
On April, 21, 2016, Brown was one of nine MSU pitchers to take the mound in Biloxi in a 14-inning, 1-0 shutout of Louisiana-Monroe. Brown had one of his better outings of the season, throwing three scoreless innings against the Warhawks, striking out three and walking none.
“When I was driving in, I was trying to remember it,” Brown said. “Some things are looking kind of familiar again.”
Brown is the first MSU product to make the Shuckers’ roster since Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff had a standout season in Biloxi in 2016.
A native of Mount Vernon, Texas, Brown is a 5-foot-10, 183-pound lefty who features a fastball that stays in the low-to-mid 90’s and a strong slider. He was taken in the seventh round of the 2016 MLB draft and has made his way up to the next level each year after starting in Rookie Ball. He had a solid stint at A-ball inn 2017, going 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 37 appearances out of the pen. In 2018, he moved up to High-A and delivered a 7-4 record with a 4.20 ERA in 39 outings.
A strong stint in the 2018 Arizona Fall League, boosted Brown’s chances of starting the 2019 campaign at Double-A. He was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings. His 17 strikeouts and fours walks were a significant improvement over the strikeout-to-walk ratio from the last two seasons. He struck out 74 and walked 35 in 2017 and followed that up with 61 strikeouts and 34 walks last season.
“My thing was just throwing more strikes, getting back to attacking hitters and giving them the best stuff that I can to get them out,” Brown said. “My thing was just throwing strikes and repeating that and trying to get quicker innings.”
Brown is one of two left-handed pitchers on the Shuckers’ roster, joining Angel Perdomo, who has split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen throughout his seven-year career.
The Brewers haven’t had many left-handed pitchers in their organization over the last three years, possibly making Brown a more valuable prospect if he can follow up a good showing in the Arizona Fall League with a stellar season at Double-A.
“If we’re in a big situation and lefties are coming up, I have to make sure my stuff is dialed in to come in and attack them,” he said.
More SEC talent
Brown is one of three players who are products of the SEC on the Shuckers’ roster. The other two are former Texas A&M star Blake Allemand, an infielder, and ex-South Carolina right-hander Braden Webb.
After playing second base, shortstop, third base and left field a year ago, Allemand should again play the role of utility man at Biloxi this year.
This will mark the third consecutive season that Allemand has started the season in Biloxi. After hitting .256 in 2017, he hit .259 a year ago.
Right-hander Marcos Diplan will be the starting pitcher for the Shuckers in Thursday’s 6:35 p.m. game against the Barons, beginning a five-game series.
Diplan split last season between High-A Carolina and Biloxi. With the Shuckers, he was 2-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 12 games. He struck out 57 and walked 36 in 57 innings.