2012 Player Review: Corey Brown
The Washington Nationals enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, recording the best record in Major League Baseball. The team relied on the contributions of many different players, whom we will catalogue throughout the offseason as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign. We continue our list with a second straight outfielder, former first-round pick, Corey Brown.
Followers of the Nationals farm system already know about the tremendous year that Matt Skole put together in 2012 (and continues to, in the Arizona Fall League), but if there was an award for the best season at a high level of the minors, it would have to go to Corey Brown. We’ll take a look at his exploits during his short time in Washington in a moment, but for those who were unaware, here’s a quick look at his minor league numbers.
After batting just .232 with three homers in April at Triple-A Syracuse, Brown exploded for a May slash line of .359/.450/.772 with nine long balls and 23 RBI. All told, he posted a .285/.365/.523 line with 25 home runs and 18 stolen bases in just 126 games, despite having his playing time disrupted twice during the year by call-ups. Brown also added nine triples while playing mostly center field, showing the coveted combination of power and speed.
But Brown made significant contributions at the Major League level as well this year. After going hitless during his first two cups of coffee in Washington (September of ’11, May of ’12), sitting at 0-for-11 to begin his big league career, Brown homered off Randy Wolf to open the scoring on July 28 in Milwaukee, helping lead the Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Brewers. The next day, he entered the game as a pinch-hitter and wound up delivering a pair of key hits that both turned into runs, including the game-tying score in the eighth inning of one of the most dramatic comebacks of the season.
But perhaps his biggest hit followed Jayson Werth’s game-tying home run in one of Washington’s more bizarre victories of the season. After a torrential storm delayed the September 8 game for nearly three hours, the Nationals tied it in the ninth only to se the game reach extra innings. With several hundred die-hard fans standing and yelling from behind the dugouts, Washington loaded the bases with one out for Brown. He needed just a medium-deep fly ball to bring home the game-winning run by either a sacrifice fly or a basehit. He may have thought he had the former, but was credited with the latter when his fly ball glanced with off the mitt of a running Giancarlo Stanton, one of just two outfielders on the play, due to the added infield alignment.
While it’s hard to say exactly how he will factor into the Nationals 2013 plans, the soon-to-be 27 year-old Brown’s versatility and mix of tools make him an intriguing piece of the puzzle moving forward.