Sometimes a team's top prospects work out, sometimes they don't. And sometimes when they do work out, it ends up being with another team. A former top Brewers prospect is hoping to be one that has success catching on elsewhere.
For a while, Zack Brown was a top pitching prospect in the Milwaukee system. Originally drafted out of high school by the rival Cubs in the 38th round back in 2013, he would end up attending the University of Kentucky before being selected again by the Brewers, this time as a 5th rounder in 2016.
By 2019, Brown saw himself as the highest rated pitcher on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Brewers prospects, landing at No. 6 overall, and on the cusp of a major league debut. That moment never came, though, and this offseason, he became a minor league free agent for the first time in his career.
Earlier this week, former Brewers pitching prospect Zack Brown signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
Things looked good for Brown's first three years in the Milwaukee system. After a 12-game stint the year he was drafted, Brown went 7-5 in 22 games (17 starts) with a 3.11 ERA while playing for Low-A Wisconsin and High-A Carolina in 2017.
He was even better playing primarily for Double-A Biloxi in 2018. He pitched in 22 games for them that year (21 starts) and went 9-1 with a 2.44 ERA, a 1.042 WHIP, a .207 batting average against, and 116 strikeouts to just 36 walks. He wound up being named pitcher of the year for both the Southern League and the Brewers' minor league organization.
Then 2019 came and things started falling apart. Brown pitched at Triple-A San Antonio that entire season and got roughed up for all of it. He would go 3-7 in 25 games (23 starts) and give up a whopping 5.79 ERA and a career high 16 homers while allowing batters to hit nearly .300 against him that season.
The organization had Brown convert to reliever after that and while 2021 looked somewhat promising, Brown was limited to just 19 appearances due to injury. 2022 went okay for him at Triple-A Nashville as he made a career high 49 appearances and put up a 3.93 ERA.
Still, Brown would become a free agent after the season and now has a new team in which he will hope to give him his first shot at the big leagues. Perhaps Brewers fans will even get the chance to see him on the mound in an NL Central matchup some day, though at this point that would mean seeing him in a Reds uniform.