Brewers: What’s gone wrong with Zack Brown?

Milwaukee Brewers prospect Zack Brown was once viewed as the next quality arm to come up through the organization. However, his star has fallen a bit in the past year. What’s gone wrong with Brown, and can he turn it around?

Zack Brown was supposed to have made his Major League debut and have a 40-man roster spot locked up at this point in his career. He hasn’t made it past Triple-A, and he was left off the 40-man roster and exposed to the Rule V Draft last December. He wasn’t selected by another team, so he’ll remain with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Is there still time for Brown to become a contributor at the Major League level?

How did Brown perform in 2019?

Brown made 23 starts and two relief appearances for the San Antonio Missions in Triple-A last year. He logged 116 2/3 innings and posted a 5.79 ERA. Brown struck out 98, walked 54, and was tagged for 16 homers.

This came after he dominated Double-A in 2018 with a 2.44 ERA and an 8.31 K/9 in 125 2/3 innings of work.

Can Brown recover in 2020?

Sure. His issues might not be completely his fault. It’s widely believed that the ball that was used in the Majors last year was also used at the Triple-A level. Combine a juiced ball with the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and it’s no wonder that Brown struggled in 2019.

His 1.2 HR/9 was well over his 0.8 career average.

He also posted a 4.9 BB/9 last year. That’s also well over his 3.4 career average.

How does Brown turn his career around?

The fact that the Brewers left him exposed to the Rule V Draft and there wasn’t another team interested speaks to how he’s viewed in the league. He doesn’t have much in terms of trade value, so a change of scenery is unlikely at this point.

It’s widely believed that the league de-juiced the ball for the playoffs, and this ‘normal’ ball should be in play for the 2020 season. That should help Brown’s home runs allowed totals, and getting back to basics and throwing strikes will help his walk rate normalize.

Brown has the ability and repertoire to have a successful run as a back of the rotation starter on a quality team. He just needs reduce the walks, and hope that fly balls find outfielders instead of fans.

Next: How does the Brewers' rotation stack up against their division rivals?

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Both Josh Hader and Corbin Burnes struggled in Triple-A, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Brown have an inflated ERA at the highest level in the Minors. What was a surprise was seeing Brown get left off the 40-man roster. Brown will need to rebuild his value in the eyes of the organization, but he can still contribute to the Brewers at the Major League level.

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