Wednesday Winter Hot Stove – Edition 7


The Ducks have seen many pitchers over the last two years join the Flock late in the season and provide a huge spark to a team looking for a deep playoff run. In the starting rotation, guys like Bobby Blevins, Matt Way and Shaun Garceau have provided several quality outings in both rounds of the postseason, serving as key pieces to back-to-back championship puzzles. In the bullpen, credit a guy like closer Leo Rosales in 2012 or Josh Strawn in 2013 for pitching some important innings down the stretch and in the playoffs.

In addition to all of these great names, there is no question that one of the biggest late-season additions and contributors to the Ducks over the past two seasons has been John Brownell. He joined the Flock late in 2012 after winning a championship in the American Association and turned in a pair of dominant postseason outings. In 14 and two-thirds innings, he allowed just four earned runs (2.84 ERA), struck out six batters and earned a crucial win when facing elimination in Game Four of the ALCS against Lancaster.

Then, after a strong year on the mound in 2013, he continued his dominance in the postseason. Brownell won all three of his playoff starts last season, posting a miniscule 2.88 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings. Classic outings like a complete game, 12-strikeout performance in Game One of the LDCS and pitching into the ninth inning of a winner-take-all Game Five in the ALCS made Brownell the most valuable arm on the Ducks pitching staff. In fact, it also earned him Atlantic League Championship Series honors.

“John has proven that he is a talented, durable asset that can pitch at a very high level,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “A Major League organization should take notice and sign him. While I am surprised one hasn’t yet, I am confident it will happen soon and certainly hope John gets that opportunity that he’s worked so hard for.”

The Oklahoma native hasn’t stopped since earning his third championship ring in the last two seasons. The right-hander is now a member of Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League, and his success has continued. Entering today, Brownell has a 2-1 record with a league-best 1.80 ERA through six starts. To put that in comparison, the next-lowest ERA in the league is that of Yuya Iida, who is at 2.27, almost a half-run higher.

His latest outing on December 3 at Mayaguez was vintage Brownell. The 30-year-old allowed just one hit over seven innings of work, surrendering only a two-out single in the third inning of a 3-0 victory. He allowed just two walks while striking out six and has given up just one earned run and seven hits total in his last 13 innings. Opponents are hitting just .173 against him this winter. The righty is simply dominating and has his team in a three-way tie for first place with Mayaguez and Carolina.

CLICK HERE to view Brownell’s game-by-game stats this winter

The amazing thing about Brownell is that he has spent just one season in affiliated baseball. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 27th round of the 2006 draft and put together a solid season, posting a 3.89 ERA in 19 games (one start). Since then, he has spent three years in the Frontier League, one in the Northern League, two in the American Association and two in the Atlantic League. Brownell has been incredibly successful, compiling a 61-48 career record with a 3.96 ERA and 744 strikeouts in 193 games (131 starts). Could his performance in 2013 with the Ducks and with Criollos de Caguas in winter ball give him another shot at reaching the Major Leagues? It’s entirely possible. There’s no doubting though that he has earned that chance with his performances on the mound.


Posted on December 11, 2013, in Winter Hot Stove and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It’s funny, my father and I were talking about this very thing yesterday.
    I am unsure of what the structure would be if I was in charge or had a say.
    Maybe $30-50 thousand per season depending on players level of skill?
    It would affect costs of tickets.
    This is a good topic.

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